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What are Shin Splints?

Pain along the front or inside edge of the shinbone (tibia) is commonly referred to as shin splints. The term shin splints has been replaced recently by the more accurate term medial tibia stress syndrome or MTSS. The most common causes of shin splints are overexercising, biomechanical abnormalities and poor footwear and is a commonly reported condition in athletes who run and jump. With anterior shin splints, you’ll feel pain on the front of your lower leg along the shin. Posterior shin splints is felt on the inside of the lower leg and cause pain in the soft tissue behind the bone.

Shin splints is usually caused by doing too much, too soon. The runner with shin splints typically reports a recent change in training, such as increasing the, intensity usual pace, adding distance, or changing running surfaces. Those are just beginning to run or those who haven’t run for a while are especially prone to shin splints after they first get started, especially when they do a lot of downhill running. Tired or inflexible calf muscles can put too much stress on tendons, which become strained and torn. Biomechanical Abnormalities such as overpronation aggravates this problem, as does running on hard surfaces, such as concrete sidewalks. Another common cause of shinsplints among beginners is poor choice of running shoes, or running in something other than running shoes.

Increasing exercise intensity or duration too quickly, excessive uphill or downhill running, exercising on hard surfaces or running on a tilted or slanted surface, starting an intensive exercise program, returning to exercise from injury or after a long lay-off period all

How to Treat Shin Splints
Many runners experience mild shin soreness, which usually can be tolerated. If shinsplints occurs at the beginning of a season, a certain amount of running through it will help the body adapt, but if it’s a persistent problem, you shouldn’t run through it.
If pain persists, ice the inflamed area for 15 minutes three times a day and take aspirin or ibuprofen. Ice immediately after running. To hasten recovery, cut down on running or stop altogether. Recovery should take two to four weeks.
Strengthening and stretching exercises are helpful. Returning to activity should be done gradually with non-weight bearing activity (cycling and swimming). Change your routine and cut your exercise time and intensity. Wear appropriate sporting footwear.
If the injury doesn’t respond to self-treatment and rest in two to four weeks it is advisable to have a consultation with a sports podiatrist to have a full biomechanical evaluation to whether or not you have a biomechanical problem that would benefit from an orthotic prescription. Correction of poor foot posture and biomechanics will often reduce or eliminate shin splint pain.


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