What Are Shin Splints?
Shin splints are a common injury among runners, athletes and individuals who are on their feet throughout the day. Also called medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints refers to stress on the shinbone and the connective tissues that attach muscles to bone.
Shin splints can be caused by:
- Flat feet
- Skipping warm-up or cool-down before or after physical activity
- Shoes with poor support
- Weak core, hips or ankles
- A change in activity level or frequency
Symptoms of shin splints include:
- Pain – Pain can be felt along the shin, anywhere from below the knee to just above the ankle.
- Increased pain during activity – Pain may worsen during walking, running or standing during an extended period of time.
Shin splints are generally mild and can be treated with a conservative approach. Your orthopedic or sports medicine provider may recommend:
- Rest – Take a break from activities that cause pain and instead try activities that take stress and weight off the legs, such as biking, swimming or stretching.
- Ice – Ice before and after physical activity to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
- Wrap – An elastic bandage may offer support or comfort.
- Medication – Anti-inflammatories can help with inflammation and pain.
- Physical therapy – A physical therapist can recommend exercises and stretches to help strengthen the muscles that support the shin, including abdominal, hip and leg muscles.
It’s important to see a specialist if you are experiencing shin splints. A sports medicine or orthopedic provider will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan that addresses your injury and helps you reach your goal.
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