Medically know as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), shin splints are an overuse injury of the lower leg, which causes pain and inflammation along the tibial bone in the shin, as a result of small tears in the muscles attaching to the shin bone.
Shin splints are most commonly related to running activities. A change in running surface, speed, distance, technique, stretching or footwear may contribute to the development of pain.
Signs and Symptoms
· Dull pain which occurs along the shin bone (tibia) at any stage during physical activity
· Pain may occasionally be sharp and penetrating
· Pain is usually relieved with rest, but can recur hours after physical activity has stopped
· In beginners, pain may be caused by doing too much too quickly
· In more experienced runners, pain may be caused by mechanical abnormalities in the runner’s technique
· Pain is aggravated by actively pointing the toes
· Rest is essential to relieve pain – at least 5-7 days
· Ice, compression, elevation and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be useful to relieve acute symptoms of pain and inflammation
· See a physician to rule out any other conditions, such as a stress fracture or compartment syndrome
· Re-evaluate any contributing factors, such as running surface and footwear
· See a podiatrist to assess any foot abnormalities
· See a biokineticist to assess your running technique and correct any weaknesses contributing to the problem – appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises for the lower leg will probably need to be done
ReferencesFoundations of Athletic Training: Prevention, Assessment and Management.