What are Shin Splints?

Shin splints are an inflammatory condition of the anterior tibialis, that results from overuse, for example, from running too much-too fast, overtraining and overuse. Consistent, repetitive running on the same surface such as on tarmac, threadmill, hard surface will aggravate the issue.

Shin splints are due to injury to the posterior peroneal tendon, ligaments and adjacent tissues in the anterior part of the lower leg. In mild cases, this occurs with inflammation of the fascia (connective tissues) that connects and surrounds, the muscles of the lower leg to the bone (tibia). In much severe cases, the fascia is under such stress that it actually (literally) splits from  the tibia, which makes it very painful and a rather slow healing process. It is called Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), in the medical terminology.  Mainly affecting runner and dancers, this shaky condition can derail any training routine and set you back for weeks or months.

Symptoms:

If you’re suffering with shin splints, you might notice and feel tenderness, soreness or severe pain along the inner side of your shin bone and a mild swelling or bulkiness in your lower leg. In the beginning , the pain might stop when you stop exercising or running. But eventually, the pain can be continuous and may progress to a stress fracture (stress reaction).

Causes :

Caused by repetitive stress on the shin bone and the fascia which results in inflammation or constant pain. Running too much, too fast with out proper warmup and stretching.

 

Risk Factors :

You’re more at risk if –

  • You run on concrete surfaces, uneven grounds or terrain, such as hills, hard roads or trail paths, .
  • You’re a runner (a beginner).
  • You suddenly add to the frequency and intensity of your miles or KM.
  • You have flat feet or high arches.

 Prevention :

  • Choose the right shoes. 
  • Add strength training to your workout. Exercises which strengthen and stabilize your legs, ankles, hips and core can help prepare your legs to deal with high impact sports. Heel raises one such exercise to strengthen the calves.
  • Consider arch supports. They might reduce shin splint symptoms and prevent reccurence.
  • Avoid overdoing. Too much running  or other high impact activity or sports performed for too long or too fast at high intensity can overload the shins.
  • Lessen the impact.  Remember to start new activities slowly. Increase time and intensity gradually. Cross train with a sport that places less impact on your shins, such as biking, walking or swimming.
  • Analyze your movement. A video analysis of your running technique and form can help figure and identify movement that cause the shin splints.In most cases, a slight change in form and technique can decrease the risk of a shin splint.

 

  Diagnosis :

Usually diagnosed on the basis of medical history and a physical examination. In some cases, an X-Ray or      other imaging studies can help identify other causes of the pain, such as a stress fracture.

Treatment :

(They often heal by on their own.)

  • Rest your body. It needs time to heal.
  • Use insoles. Insoles can be custom made or bought – which may help if your arches collapse or flatten when you are standing up.
  • Ice your shin – to ease the pain and swelling. Do it for about 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours per day for a few days, until the pain is gone.

 

 

 

Categories: Injury

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