Shin splints, also referred to as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), is a common exercise-related condition, where pain occurs along the inner edge of the shinbone (tibia), giving the condition its name. Anyone can be at risk for shin splints, however, people who participate in high impact sports or vigorous physical activity are at a higher risk.
Learn more about shin splints, the symptoms to watch out for, and how the podiatrists at Comprehensive Foot Specialists diagnose and treat shin splints at our office in Huntington, NY.
Shin splints is a cumulative stress disorder, meaning the increased repetition of pressure and strain placed on the bones, muscles, and joints of the lower legs prohibit the body from naturally healing itself. This intense pain along the front of the lower leg, at the shin bone, is very common. The most common symptom of shin splints is pain and/or mild swelling along the border of the tibia or shinbone. The pain caused by shin splints is commonly described as a sharp throbbing that can occur before and after exercise or physical activity.
Some risk factors that can contribute to the occurrence of shin splints include:
The primary cause of shin splints is repetitive stress placed on the shinbone, as well as on the connective tissues and tendons that attach the muscles to the bone. The excessive amount of stress placed on the shinbone and tissues causes the muscles to swell, which increases the pressure against the bone, resulting in inflammation and pain. Less strenuous activities, such as walking, can lead to the occurrence of shin splints, however, athletes who repeatedly participate in high impact sports are at a higher risk, especially if they partake in running, dancing, basketball, tennis, or soccer.
Diagnosis of shin splints is usually determined with a physical examination, as well as a review of the symptoms the patient is experiencing, the patient’s medical history, and their physical activity habits and routine. The doctor may require an X-ray or additional imaging tests to determine if there is another cause for the pain other than shin splints, such as a stress fracture or tendonitis.
Initial conservative treatment for shin splints involves rest and ice. Once the pain and inflammation have diminished, it is important to begin strengthening exercises in the surrounding muscle groups. Patients can then gradually return to or modify their activities with short and low-intensity training. In addition, if running was the source of trauma, athletes can perform on more forgiving surfaces, such as grass, to dampen the force on the leg. If the source of shin splints manifested from faulty biomechanics of the foot and ankle, orthotics may also be added to the regimen. Surgery is often saved as a last resort where conservative options have continued to fail.
At Comprehensive Foot Specialists, we are passionate about treating a variety of foot conditions, including plantar fasciitis. We serve all our patients at our conveniently located office based in Huntington, NY. Our incredible team of qualified doctors will help you every step of the way, so your condition can be addressed and you can live the most comfortable life possible. To learn more about the services we offer and how we can treat your plantar fasciitis, please contact us today.
At Comprehensive Foot Specialists, our expert physicians are dedicated to treating a wide variety of foot and ankle conditions so you can live comfortably, 24/7. Contact us today to learn more!Book an Appointment