Shin Splints – what is it?
‘Shin Splints’, or medial tibial stress syndrome, is a term that is used for pain felt anywhere along the shinbone from knee to ankle. It is a result of overworked muscles, tendons and bone tissue and often occur in athletes who’ve recently intensified or changed their training routines. People that play sports that involve a lot of running are particularly prone to this type of injury.
Causes of shin splints
The pain associated with shin splints results from excessive amounts of force on the shinbone and the tissues attaching the shinbone to the muscles surrounding it. The excessive force causes the muscles to swell and increases the pressure against the bone, leading to pain and inflammation.
Shin splints also result from stress reactions to bone fractures. The constant pounding can cause minute cracks in the bones of the leg. If the body doesn’t get time to rest then the tiny cracks can result in a complete fracture or a stress fracture.
Various activities and physical attributes can cause shin splints. These can include:
- A sudden increase in the amount or intensity of exercise
- The ankle joint rolling inwards too far as the running foot hits the ground (over-pronation), however, this is more common in people with fallen arches or flat feet
- Tightness of calf muscles or muscle weakness in the thighs or buttocks
- Running on sloping, uneven or hard surfaces
- Using unsupportive, worn-out footwear
- Participating in sports that have fast stops and starts (like soccer, netball or downhill skiing)
Symptoms of shin splints
People with shin splints will experience some of the following symptoms:
- Aches and pains along the shinbone
- The area is tender and sore to touch
- The skin around the shinbone may be red and inflamed
- The pain may be felt before, during and after running
Treatment for shin splints
There are several home remedies for shin splints and they include:
- Rest as much as possible
- Apply icepacks to the affected areas for 10-20 minutes, three to four times per day
- Take anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as aspirin or ibuprofen
- Perform low impact activities during recovery, such as swimming
- Address the causative factors
Prevention of shin splints
The best ways to prevent shin splints include:
- Thoroughly warming up before exercising and include plenty of slow, sustained stretches in your cool down
- Make stretching a regular routine in your fitness program
- Use specific exercises to strengthen the muscles of the lower legs
- Choose flat, softer surfaces to run on, such as running tracks or grassy ovals
- Reduce the intensity of your training
- Place shock-absorbing insoles in your running shoes
- Ensure that running shoes are not worn out
- Introduce cross-training with low-impact activities such as cycling, swimming or walking
Chiro & Sports Med
Our chiropractors at Chiro & Sports Med are committed to providing chiropractic solutions to address your unique needs, whether you are experiencing a pinched nerve, bulging disc, back pain, neck pain, knee pain, headaches or even muscular tightness and tension. You may be searching for pain relief after an accident or experiencing injury. You may suffer from a specific condition like chronic back pain or a spinal condition. Our mission is to help reduce or eliminate pain and to prevent future problems and injury. We are here to improve your quality of life, your well-being and your ability to live and active healthy lifestyle.