Dealing with Shin Splints
All the Advice You Need
Shin splints is the term used to identify pain that occurs just between the knee (on your lower leg/shin bone) and your ankle. It usually occurs on the front outside part of your leg or on the inside part of your leg. It is also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS).
Shin splints usually affect individuals who engage in regular exercise, or strenuous activity. People such as athletes, dancers, and especially runners. You may find that people who participate in stop-start sports are also affected; think football, basketball, and even tennis. The pain experienced when shin splints occur can sometimes be so severe that the individual is forced to stop the activity immediately.
Caused by repeated tension on the bones joints, and muscles of the lower legs, shin splints are a common cumulative stress disorder. It’s not easy dealing with shin splints, so here is all the advice you need including symptoms, causes, how they can be avoided and recommended treatments.
When the muscle tissue in your lower legs become inflamed it can cause acute pain, almost unbearable at times so let’s look at some of the symptoms an individual with shin splints may experience:
- An intense ache in the front part of your lower leg (along your tibia)
- A dull aching on either side of your shin bones
- Pain in your lower legs that is intensified during exercise
- Noticeable swelling in your lower legs
- Muscle pain in your lower legs
- Agony along the inner part of your lower legs
- Increased numbness and weakness in your feet
- Noticeable bumps or lumps felt along your tibia (shin bone)
- In some severe cases, you may notice red patches on the skin around excruciating areas
A notable point here is that the pain may be more serious when you start to exercise (before you’ve warmed up), which can be seen as a sign, especially in runners who have either just started out or have changed the surface they usually run upon.
Avoiding shin splints
There are is a lot of advice when it comes to the prevention of shin splints, and a lot of what you will find online is directed solely at runners. We have put together a more widespread list. Having said that, these are merely precautions and won’t necessarily prevent them all together, but have been known to:
- Stretching of calf muscles
Tightness in your muscles may contribute to imbalances which may be associated with MTSS. Performing calf stretches regularly, before and after intense exercise may prevent shin splints.
- Wear the correct footwear
Ensuring you wear the appropriate footwear relevant to your form of exercise may help to prevent and reduce straining of the muscles in your lower legs. This is why there are specific shoes (in all shapes and forms) for different sports. Orthotic shoes are supposed to support and advance the biomechanics in your feet, so these are definitely worth considering. It’s best to get in touch with us for a biomechanical assessment to gain a deeper understanding.
- Muscle strengthening exercises
Muscle strengthening exercises of the lower leg have been known to help prevent MTSS. This decreases imbalance in the lower legs which could prove beneficial in averting shin splints.
Causes of shin splints
There is an array of factors which may cause shin splints, although the exact processes are not fully understood. Some of these tibial injuries may include the following:
- Tendinopathy - which is a disease of the tendon
- Internal remodelling of periosteal: bone regeneration during the healing process of fractures
- Overpronation: When more weight is placed on the inside of the foot than on the outside while exercising - which may cause muscles to fatigue more quickly
Treatment of shin splints
There are many recommended treatments of MTSS online, but our advice is to immediately see a podiatrist if you start to feel any of the pain mentioned above.
At Fitter Feet for Life, We diagnose and treat both simple problems and complex disorders when it comes to the feet and legs. Shin splints can be caused by poor foot and ankle alignment, for example, flat feet. Our podiatrists diagnose and treat shin splints. They can provide orthoses fir for trainers to correct your Gait and running style. Orthoses stop the overuse of the shin splint muscles and allow you to train in without pain.
Our podiatrists provide non-surgical and surgical care for many foot and limb problems, deformities and pathologies.
If you’re unsure as to what type of appointment you need, just book a 'Free Foot Check,' and we will evaluate your problem and help you book the correct treatment.