Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, is a common condition that affects the shins. It is often experienced by athletes and individuals who engage in activities that involve running, jumping, or high-impact movements. Our podiatrists have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating shin splints. Here’s what you need to know about this condition:
Shin splints are usually caused by repetitive stress on the lower leg, which can be due to a variety of factors, including:
Overuse: Overtraining or engaging in high-intensity activities without adequate rest can place excessive stress on the shins.
Poor biomechanics: Abnormal foot and leg alignment can cause uneven distribution of forces through the legs, leading to shin splints.
Inadequate footwear: Worn-out shoes or shoes without proper arch support can contribute to shin splints.
Hard surfaces: Running or jumping on hard surfaces can increase the risk of developing shin splints.
Weak muscles: Weak calf muscles or hip muscles can place more stress on the shins.
The symptoms of shin splints typically include pain and tenderness along the inside of the shin bone. The pain may be mild at first and gradually worsen over time, especially with activity. In some cases, swelling or redness may be present.
The treatment options for shin splints depend on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, conservative treatments such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), and physical therapy may be effective. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also be recommended to help reduce pain and inflammation.
In more severe cases, more aggressive treatments may be necessary, including:
Custom orthotics or shoe inserts that can help correct or treat biomechanical issues and reduce stress on the shins.
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT): A non-invasive treatment that uses shockwaves to promote healing in the affected area.
Surgery: In rare cases where conservative treatments are ineffective, surgery may be necessary to repair or remove damaged tissue.
To reduce the risk of developing shin splints, it is important to:
Gradually increase training intensity and duration
Stretch and warm up properly before activity
Wear appropriate footwear with proper arch support
Avoid running or jumping on hard surfaces
Strengthen calf and hip muscles
Seek prompt treatment for any foot or ankle pain