What are shin splints?
Shin Splints is the name referring to a pain in the shin region below the knees and above the ankle in the lower leg.
What Causes shin splints?
Shin Splints can be caused by overusing certain muscles usually during long-distance running, especially if running on a hard surface. However, other factors are often involved such as posture and body alignment when running. Having flat feet or low arches can also be a common cause of shin splints and one factor commonly implicated in causing shin splints is overpronation (over-flattening) of the foot.
Shin Splints are caused through the overuse of muscles that could be due to a sudden injury or a delayed condition. The most common cause is the irritation and inflammation of the tendons and tissue surrounding the tibia and this condition is called medial tibial stress syndrome. Other common causes are a compartment syndrome or a stress factor.
What are the Symptoms of shin splints?
Most people feel pain on the inner side of the tibia during and after exercise. Often a contraction in the shin leads to muscle soreness. Sometimes there is swelling and even lumps on the bone. In some cases it is painful to bend the foot or toes downwards and the inside of the shin appears to be red.
Cold therapy: Put a cold pack (typically an ice pack applied for 20 minutes) directly on the injury
Thermotherapy: Apply heat (typically in the form of heated pads, warms packs or lamps) to the areas of the body causing pain. NB. Often Cold therapy and Thermotherapy are alternated, with the cold application happening first
Advice regarding the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (always seek the advice of a medical professional)
Strengthening and stretching exercises
Low-impact exercises such as swimming
In the long-term you may need to change your running style in order to correct the way that the foot hits the ground, as well as making sure that good footwear is worn
Orthotic advice to help raise fallen arches.