Shin Splints

What are Shin Splints?

Shin splints is a common term used to describe general pain and swelling on the front of the lower part of the leg. The pain usually appears after repetitive stress including activities, such as walking, hiking and running.   

Causes

The common cause of shin splints are flat feet, high arches and unsupportive shoes. The pain associated with shin splints is from inflammation caused by the repeated pulling of muscles away from the tibia bone. It occurs most commonly in both legs, but can occur in just one. If left untreated shin splints can lead to stress fractures in the tibia.

Treatments

Shin splints can be treated in a variety of ways.

  • Shoes - a change to more supportive shoe gear is recommended.  

  • Orthotic Inserts - a custom orthotic device is frequently prescribed in the treatment of shin splints.

  • Ice - the use of ice packs can help to reduce inflammation. An ice pack can be wrapped in a towel and applied to the area (never apply ice directly to the skin) for periods of no greater than 20 minutes. 

  • Oral Medications - Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, may be used to reduce inflammation and pain.

  • Stretching - massage and stretching can frequently reduce the pain of shin splints. 

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