A shin splint is characterized by pain along front side of the shin bone, which is the large bone of your lower leg. This condition is also known as medial tibial stress syndrome and is very common in people who engage in athletic activities such as running. Shin splints is often due to a sudden increase in the intensity or duration of strenuous activities.
If you’ve been diagnosed with shin splints, it means your tibia bone and the surrounding muscles and soft tissues are being overworked. It often feels like a severe or stabbing pain in the front of your lower leg, from below the knee to just above the ankle. The pain is most often felt when you are being physical active, such as when running, working out at the gym, or when a playing a sport. When you stop the activity, the symptoms generally subside.
Treating Shin Splints
For mild to moderate shin splints, treatment is usually conservative, which includes rest, ice therapy, compression of the lower leg, and elevating the affected leg. Medication can bring down the inflammation and relieve pain temporarily. Resting your affected leg for a few weeks and performing low-impact aerobic exercises while in recovery can help you heal quickly. While in recovery, you can avoid stressing your shins by wearing custom orthotics and supportive shoes, especially if you have high arches or flat feet, which likely contributed to the injury.
Shin splints rarely require surgical intervention unless severe and chronic. Chronic shin splints is usually caused by underlying anatomy issues, which a surgeon can fix through surgery.
Surgical treatment for shin splints is either a fasciotomy or periosteal stripping. Fasciotomy involves making a cut in the fascia tissue in your leg as a means to relieve shin splint pain that is caused by a damaged lower leg fascia. Periosteal stripping involves the removal of the connective tissue coating the tibia and is only recommended if the shin splint is caused by an inflammation of the tissue.
Preventing Shin Splints
The most common reason why people get shin splints is overusing the legs too rigorously in a short period of time. The best thing that you can do to prevent shin splints is take ample time to condition your body when doing physical activities. You should begin any type of exercise or sport play with thorough stretching and warm ups. Additionally, increase the intensity of your workout or activity very gradually. For example, if you run, start with light jogging for a mile and increase the duration and intensity gradually over several weeks or months. Do not try to run a 5K all of a sudden. Similarly, if you enjoy playing a sport like soccer or basketball, gradually increase how rigorously you play as well as the amount of time you play. Don’t go for a full game or strenuous play without practicing and conditioning your body for weeks or months before.
Shin Splints Diagnosis and Treatment in Maryland
If you’re an athlete or a sports enthusiast and wish to enjoy an active lifestyle without injuries, it’s important to have a skilled and talented team of orthopedic professionals to support you.
The experts at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland can help you with any orthopedic injury or condition you may have, including shin splints.
Schedule an appointment today by calling (410) 644-1880. You can also request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you soon!