Medial tibial stress syndrome or better known as shin splints occurs when there’s pain along the front of your lower leg (shin bone). It can be caused by stress on the shinbone and connective tissue that attaches the muscle to the bone. The tissue gets inflamed and painful. Excessive forces cause the muscle to swell leading to an increase in the pressure against the bone. This will cause pain and inflammation.
It frequently affects people engaging in moderate to heavy physical activity. Shin splints can occur in sports such as tennis and soccer. The pain can be so intense that it will cause the person to stop the activity immediately. Shin splints is seen as a cumulative stress disorder. The constant repeated pounding and stress on bones, muscle and joints of the lower leg prevents the body from healing naturally. In people that’s quite active shin splints can occur due to sudden changes in their exercise routine such as more intense or frequent sessions and longer workout sessions.
Risk factors will include:
Symptoms for shin splints can include the following:
Shin splints often heal on their own and don’t really need a treatment plan. In cases where a person seeks medical care the physician/ physical therapist will do a thorough physical exam. During this exam they will have a look at your walking and running pattern to see if there’s any problems that occur. They might also send you for X-rays or bone scans to see if there’s maybe any fractures present. Other treatment options will include the following:
Signs that indicate that your shin splints have healed:
Important to remember that you don’t need to rush back to sport. Downtime for shin splints to heal is typically around two weeks. If you start doing workouts or sport before your shin healed properly you may injure or hurt yourself permanently. In the time when your shin heals you can try to take up a non-impact activity that won’t aggravate the shin while it’s healing. For example if you’re a runner you can do swimming or a interval bike program to maintain your cardiovascular fitness but not putting pressure on the shin.
In cases where the shin splints don’t heal, get better or recurring you may need to see a doctor or a physical therapist. They can treat the issues in your legs or the way your leg moves that can possibly cause the problem. If you are experiencing any of the following, seek medical care:
There is certain steps that an individual can follow to prevent getting shin splints: