Shin Splint is a painful condition that is often faced by athletes while jumping or running. In this condition, the inside or the front of the shin bone (tibia) starts paining due to a quick or sudden motion. The shin splint that involves the front muscles, tissues of shin is called anterolateral shin splint, while, the pain in the back and inner part of the muscles of shin is called a posteromedial shin splint.
Shin Splints occur due to vigorous exercise, repetitive activities such as dance, running, or sports, etc. Other caused include:
- Overuse or stretching of muscles
- Running on hard surfaces
- Changing the intensity and duration of workouts
- Having rigid arches or flat feet
- Exercising without warming up
- Muscle imbalance
- Running on a slanted surface
- Wearing inappropriate footwear
The most common symptom of shin splints is excessive pain on the inner or outer part of the lower leg that worsens with exercise or running. The muscles tighten and become stiff. Often the pain worsens and causes inflammation and swelling. Different people may have different symptoms, so it is crucial to consult a physician for proper diagnosis. The physician will confirm the condition after reviewing the complete medical history of the patient and physical examination.
Depending upon the age, medical history, and extent of pain, and type of shin splint, an orthopedic doctor determines the course of treatment. The patient is recommended to discontinue any physical activity that is responsible for the condition. They are advised to wear running shoes with rigid heels and arch supports that are specially designed to offer relief to the patient.
- Wearing an elastic compression bandage can also help.
- The orthopedic surgeon may suggest rest, strengthening and stretching exercises, cold packs and some anti-inflammatory medicines.
- Physicians may recommend MRI or X-rays to determine the extent of damage and in case of a rare severe shin splint and stress fracture, the surgeon may recommend surgery.
- The patients may be required to change their daily routine and decrease their exercise time.
A patient may take up to 3-4 months to recover from shin splint. To ensure that the patient has fully recovered, it is important that the patient should be able to use leg, exercise, jump, and run without any pain. The affected leg should be as flexible as the other leg, and there should not be any weakness and follow-ups can make sure of that.