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Shin Splints
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Shin splints

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Shin splints is a Inflammation of the tendons on the inside of the front of the lower leg. The medical term for this condition is medial tibial stress syndrome. The medial surface of the tibia is the surface that faces the inside of your leg.

Common causes of shin splints include overuse, training too intensively or having flat arches in your feet. Exercise-related leg pain is common among people who participate in activities that involve repeated impact of their feet on hard surfaces, such as running, basketball, aerobic dancing and tennis.

Most of the time, you can treat shin splints with self-care steps and rest. You can prevent them from recurring by stretching, using proper shoe inserts and modifying your exercise routine.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of shin splints may include:

  • Inflammation of your shin or shins

  • Pain

  • Swelling

Causes

Pain along the inside of the shin or tibial bone is commonly the result of overdoing athletic activities, engaging in sports with a lot of starts and stops or running down hills. Pain may be caused by training mistakes, such as the "terrible toos" — training too hard, too fast and for too long without a proper progression to the increased level of conditioning — or running on a slanted or tilted surface. Worn-out footwear or flat arches may put increased stress on your tibia. Improper stretching and neglecting to warm up before exercising also may contribute to shin injury.

When to seek medical advice

Most of the time, you can take care of shin pain on your own. See your doctor if pain persists, even after resting your legs, or if you believe recovery is too slow.

Also, seek medical care immediately if:

  • Pain in your shin follows a fall or accident and is severe

  • Your shin is hot and inflamed

  • You have pain in your shin at rest or at night

Treatment

It's possible to mistake shin splints for a stress fracture, which commonly causes a more localized pain in the middle of the tibia, directly over the bone. A stress fracture may not show up on an X-ray until 2 or 3 weeks after symptoms of pain and swelling appear. A stress fracture may be treated with rest or with crutches and a walking boot to prevent a more serious fracture.

If you have recurrent problems that your doctor believes may be due to the mechanics of your foot, especially if you have flatfeet, he or she may prescribe custom-made arch supports (orthotic devices) to correct the problem. You place orthotic devices inside your athletic shoes like foot pads. This helps prevent your arches from collapsing and the force from the ground from concentrating in your shins.

Prevention

Take these steps to help prevent injury to your shins:

  • Stretch your muscles. Use stretching exercises before and after running to loosen the muscles in your legs and feet.

  • Wear shoe inserts. If you have flatfeet, wear an arch support to help cushion and disperse the impact on your legs.

  • Strengthen your ankles. Try exercises to strengthen your ankle muscles to help those muscles better withstand the impact of athletic activities.

  • Lessen the impact. Consider a sport with less impact on your shins, such as swimming, walking or riding a bicycle.

Self-care

Try these steps to ease the pain and help you recover:

  • Rest your legs. "Relative" rest requires you to reduce the duration and frequency of your athletic activity. Base how far you cut back on whether you still experience pain. Consider low-impact alternate conditioning, such as swimming, bicycling or water running. If your shin pain is severe and causes you to limp, you may need to use crutches until you can walk normally without pain. When you resume your activities, ease back into them. If you don't, you may re-injure yourself.

  • Apply ice. For at least several days after injury, apply an ice pack to the painful area for 15-minute periods. Cold reduces pain, swelling and inflammation in injured muscles, joints and connecting tissues. Cold may also reduce bleeding if a tear has occurred.

  • Use pain relievers. Over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), or analgesics, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), may relieve pain.

 

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Disclaimer

This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 

 



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