OrthoNeuro Blog

12 Aug

Shin Splints: Common Overuse Injury in Runners

by Brent Whitehead

Shin splints, more recently named medial tibial stress syndrome, are a common injury that has been closely associated with overuse and over exertion of the lower leg muscles, commonly caused from running or sports that involve high levels of running. Running on hard surfaces or running in worn out shoes have also been implicated as a causes. According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 3 million new cases are reported every year in the US, with some studies support that women having a higher incidence than men.

shin splintsIt has been noted that both flat feet and sudden changes in workout program can cause an increased incidence of developing shin splints. The associated pain of shin splints is normally generalized to the inner side of the shin. This is the location where the bone, muscles, and tendons become inflamed, thus being the cause of your pain. This pain might be sharp and razor-like, or dull and throbbing. The onset normally occurs during or after exercising and is commonly aggravated if the “sore spot” is touched. Examination by a doctor is highly recommended because there is an overlap of symptoms with some other more serious injuries such as stress fractures, tendonitis, and chronic exertional compartment syndrome. Your physician will most likely have an X-ray, and possibly and MRI, taken in order to make sure there is not a more significant underlying problem that would require urgent treatment. If the pain is ultimately found to be the result of shin splints , meaning no other coexistent problems, then the treatment will include:

1.) Rest: try to avoid activities that aggravate or inflame the affected area trying not to stop all activity. Try low impact activities such as swimming, biking, or water running.

2.) Icing: applying ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes, four to eight times a day over the next week.

3.) Over the counter anti inflammatory such ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen sodium (Aleve).

4.)  A less common treatment is the use of special shoe inserts called orthotics.

Do you have shin pain when running or conditioning?  Shin splints may be the cause!  Schedule an appointment with an OrthoNeuro Foot & Ankle Specialist today!  Same Day/ Next Day Appointments are available.

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