Posts Tagged ‘Shin Splints’

Summer Blog Series: Shin Splints

July 19th, 2012 by Dr.Chang

Shin splints, also called tibial stress syndrome, are a common complaint of runners who increase their mileage or intensity too quickly. Feeling throbbing or aching in the shins is surprisingly common for athletes and runners. Shin splints, however, aren’t a single medical condition. They can be caused by a number of factors; irritated and swollen muscles, over use, stress fractures, over-pronation or flat feet, and running on hard surfaces, to name a few.  With shin splints you will feel a dull and aching pain in the front of the lower leg during exercise, or even after exercise. Shins may be painful to the touch, muscles can swell, and nerves can even be affected causing parts of the feet to go numb.

There are various places where the shin can cause pain. Usually, a flatfoot can cause pain in the tibialis posterior, or the front and outside of your shin. High arches can cause anterior lateral shin splints, on the inside of your shin. Less common is pain deep in the back of the leg, caused by tightness in your inner calf muscles, the soleal complex. No matter what kind, shin splints are a mechanical issue, caused by excessive mileage and a pounding stride.

There is good news for all of you who suffer from shin splints: they are very treatable, with quite high success rates! So have hope as you begin your treatment plan. Treatment for shin splints varies according to the nature of your own individual injury. In general, the very first thing to do is to rest in order for your injury to heal. Additionally, ice, NSAIDs, arch supports, range of motion exercises (as recommended by your podiatrist or physical therapist), a neoprene sleeve to support and warm the leg, and physical therapy will be recommended. If your shin splints are caused by stress fractures, you may be put in a walking boot or even need surgery for severe cases.

Remember that recovering from shin splints can be a frustratingly long process. Many runners need up to six months, or more, to recover. Resist the urge to start running again before you are ready, because your injury could become more severe. To bide time and to stay in shape until you heal, you can take up activities that have little impact on your legs such as swimming or cycling. You will know when you are ready to run again by a number of factors including equal flexibility in your legs, activity does not cause pain, or when x-rays show that your stress fractures have healed. To avoid shin splints wear good shoes with the right amount of support for your foot, warm up and then stretch before working out, run on soft surfaces, and stop working out when you feel pain in your shins.

 

 

 

Doctor, my shins are killing me!

May 15th, 2010 by Dr.Murray

“Shin Splints” is a common term for any exercise-related leg pain. The most common cause of exercise related leg pain is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS). Other frequent causes of exercise related leg pain in athletes are stress fracture or posterior compartment syndrome.
MTSS, a specific overuse injury, causes pain along the posterior inside & outside aspects of the lower leg. Athletes most commonly afflicted with this condition compete in track, cross-country, basketball, and volleyball. The incidence of MTSS in long-distance runners is reported as high as 16.8%. It affects females more than males. In our experiences it occurs frequently from training error and running on uneven surfaces.
There is no consensus on the cause. Some believe it is inflammation of deep fascia or strain of deep muscles of the leg. Others believe it is tearing of the leg bone-muscle interface. Yet, another theory is a stress reaction of the bone that has become painful.
The diagnosis is made by history, clinical exam and full consideration of the symptoms. Commonly, athletes will complain of pain at the beginning of a run that seems to subside during the middle but recurs at the end of the run. Some risk factors for MTSS are: excessive foot pronation (flat feet), tight calf muscles, foot/leg geometry and alignment, body mass, sex and age. Diagnostic exams can be utilized if other conditions are suspected and initial treatment program does not result in improvement.
As for most overuse injuries treatment involves cessation of the activity. Assumption of alternative forms of exercise should be utilized if competitive athletes want to remain in condition. Stabilization of the foot is essential if excessive pronation is found. Support of the foot will involve evaluation of shoes for wear. Replace if necessary. Foot orthotics should also be considered and made to specifications based of appropriate biomechanical foot exam and gait analysis. Anti-inflammatory medications are also helpful for pain control. Finally, a well directed range of motion, stretching and muscle recovery-rehabilitation-strengthening program should be started (see articles below).
If you suffer from shin splints or know someone who does make and appointment at Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle Clinic. We can help keep you “in the game.”
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