Shin Splints

1 What are Shin Splints?

The pain along the tibia or shinbone is called shin splints and it is the large bone in your lower leg. Shin splints are most common in dancers, military recruits, runners and athletes since they always use their legs.

It is also known as the tibial stress syndrome. If an athlete changes his training routines or became rough, most likely he will have shin splints. If you feel you have a shin splint, rest and apply ice to the area. To prevent this you should modify your training and wear proper footwear.

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2 Symptoms

Pain, aching and inflammation on the lower leg or the affected area is the main symptom of shin splints.

The pain will stop if you stop running but then you will feel the pain again. Drink pain reliever. But if the medication and total rest does not work, maybe it is time to see a physician.

3 Causes

Repetition of stress on the connective tissue that attach your muscles to the bone and on the shinbone may cause shin splints.

The excessive force may cause the muscles to become swollen and increase the pressure against the bone which can lead to inflammation and severe pain.

Flat foot syndrome and lack of training techniques may also lead to shin splint.

4 Making a Diagnosis

The doctor’s diagnosis on your shin splints will be based on your physical exam as well as your medical history.

Other imaging studies can also help the doctors locate and see what cause your pain.

5 Treatment

There are treatments for shin splints which include: 

  • ask your doctor for a prescription for pain reliever or you can just buy an over the counter pain reliever,
  • total resting,
  • avoid strenuous activities that may cause your legs to hurt or swell,
  • try mild exercises such as walking and swimming,
  • put ice compress on the affected area within 15 to 20 minutes four to eight times a day for a week.

Your shin splints should be completely healed before you go back to your daily routine or the pain will go back again.

6 Prevention

There are preventions that you can take for shin splints: 

  • proper footwear that you can use when walking or exercising, if you love to run you need to replace your shoes every 350 to 500 miles (560 to 800 kilometers),
  • consider less strenuous exercise or activities such as swimming, biking or walking,
  • arch supports can hinder the pain of shin splints and lessen the impact,
  • try toe raising to strengthen your calf muscles, slowly rise up on your toes, then gently lower your heels to the floor, repeat this procedure for up to 10 times,
  • other exercises for your lower leg can be helpful too and leg presses.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

A few alternative and homeopathic remedies exist for shin splints.

Stop what you are doing if you feel any pain, do not use your feet or stay off your feet at the moment. Put ice on the affected area. One treatment is freezing water in a paper cup, once frozen peel back the other side of the cup so that the ice may be exposed then massage it gently in the affected area for about 10 minutes, up to 4 times a day for 1 to 2 weeks. 

You can also put an elastic bandage or neoprene sleeves on the affected area. You can also take pain relievers for the pain. Do not run on hills and stay off the cement. Warm up before exercising so that you will be injured.


8 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with shin splints.

Resting your body is needed.

Do not force yourself or your legs to do strenuous activities.

If you already encountered shin splints, take extra precautions.

9 Risks and Complications

You are likely at risk of having shin splints if you love running and if you play sports on hard and rough areas or if you had a little accident like running on uneven surfaces.

Also, if you are in military training because of the surfaces and the rough and strenuous training you are undergoing and if you have high arches or flat feet.