What Is It?
Shin splints can be used to describe a ‘catch-all’ of lower leg pains, but is most commonly known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), which is defined by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons as a "pain along the inner edge of the shinbone (tibia)". Shin splints come about from repeated trauma to the connective muscle tissue surrounding the tibia and is a common injury affecting athletes who engage in running sports or other forms of physical activity, including running and jumping. Shin splints are characterized by general pain in the lower region of the leg between the knee and the ankle.
If you have shin splints, you may notice tenderness, soreness or pain along the inner part of your lower leg or a mild swelling in your lower leg. At first, the pain may stop when you stop running or exercising. Eventually, however, the pain may be continuous.
What Causes It?
- A sudden or high increase in the intensity or volume (miles) of activity
- Running on uneven, or cambered (crowned) surfaces or always running in the same direction on a track
- Inadequate stretching
- Wearing improper or worn out footwear
How Can I Treat It?
Depending on the duration and severity of the pain you should decrease or take a break from your training. Apply ice to the affected area to decrease the pain and swelling.
How Can I Prevent It?
- Gradually increase the intensity and volume of your activity.
- Stretching of the calf and shin muscles - Prostretch can be used to stretch and strengthen the shin muscles.
- If running on a cambered surface, alternate sides to relieve pressure. If running on a track alternate direction of running.
- If caused by overpronation, wear a stability shoe or an insert such as Superfeet to provide additional support to the foot.
- Wear a compression sock or sleeve such as CEP.