What Are Shin Splints? The Basics

The term “shin splints” is usually heard from the mouths of athletes. This is because athletes lead active lives and expose themselves to painful incidents when they play their respective games, causing them to complain of different kinds of pain. Of course, everyone, not only athletes, are at risk for shin splints If you’re wondering, “What are shin splints?”, this is the article that will answer your question, and then some. Shin splints are the slow-healing pain felt around the shins when a person engages in too much running, jumping, or moving around. In the medical world, the formal term used for this medical condition is “medical tibial syndrome.”

Sometimes, persons who experience pain in their shins immediately think they have shin splints However, this may not be the case. Shin splints are rather common, but they are not the only reason why you feel pain in your shins. It is better to ask for expert advice before jumping to conclusions, lest you fall into wrong belief and resort to wrong treatment. Another medical condition, chronic compartment syndrome (CCS), mimics the symptoms of anterior shin splints CCS is considered more serious by many health professionals because it can lead to great loss of function in the affected area, which is the lower leg. Before CCS sets in, swelling occurs within the non-distensible anterior compartment of the leg and causes the blood flow to reduce. When ischemia, the relative lack of blood, develops, more swelling and even generate a positive feedback loop can result. In even more serious cases, acute compartment syndrome (ACS) can occur, and in order to prevent muscle death from the lack of blood, also referred to as chemic muscle necrosis, surgery will be required. This is why it’s important to ask “What are shin splints?” and to consult your doctor right away if you feel pain in your shins.

There are different causes for experiencing shin splints the most common of which is a stress fracture found in the shins and an overused muscle. The muscle pain that erupts can be caused by any basic physical activity that puts force and pressure on the shins, such as walking, running, swimming, jumping, skipping, biking, roller skating, and others. A person who is not used to doing any of the activities mentioned above but engages in an intensive session, even just a short bout, can suffer from shin splints the next day. One of the commonly believed contributing causes of muscle discomfort and pain in the shins is the forced extension of the anterior lower leg muscles done by the opposing calf muscles, which overpowers the shins and causes pain. Thankfully, shin splints can be prevented and cured. What are shin splints treatments? Exercise is the most recommended treatment, together with a more relaxed lifestyle. Exercise also helps determine if the condition is really shin splints or something else; if the pain worsens during the course of the exercise regimen, the condition is most probably CSS, not shin splints.

Find out more answers about Orthotics and other foot related topics at http://www.footorthotics.ie Ireland’s leading orthotics, foot orthotics and biomechanics clinic dealing with foot injuries, walking injuries and running injuries.

Leinster Clinic Biomechanics Lab is run by Senior Orthotist David Kingston B.Sc.(Hons) Orth.

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