What are shin Splints? Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Have you ever felt pain in your shins in your daily routine special after your daily run? Do you feel strain in your lower leg muscles quite often? The resulting may be shin splints. In medical language, it is called tibial stress syndrome. 

Let’s look into the details. Know what are shin splints? How are they prevented and treated?

What are Shin Splints?

shin splints

Shin splint is the pain in front of your lower leg. The pain is particularly because of inflammation of the shin muscles and shin bone tissues. The pain also occurs because of the stress in the shinbone and the tissue connecting the shin bone muscles. 

Runners, dancers, and military persons are commonly affected by shin splints. Moreover, the coolest thing is that these are not only treated or curable, but we can also prevent them by different methods.

Who is more affected by Shin Splints?

Only specific people don’t need to be affected by shin splints. It can occur to anyone and any age, but certain people are more likely to get this condition because of their work and routine. People who are more prone towards or at higher risk of getting shin splints are:

who are affected by shin splints

Runners:

 It is most common in runners, especially runners who run faster and cover longer distances. Also, it occurs in those who run on hard surfaces and do not have proper training.

Athletes:

Those athletes who play hard and high-impact games cause more stress on their legs.

Dancers:

It is also more likely to affect dancers more.

Military Recruits:

 Military persons have a challenging routine and complicated exercises, resulting in shin splints.

Shoes:

Uncomfortable shoes are also one of the reasons. People who wear shoes that are not at a good support level or do not support their arches and heels are more prone to this problem.

Vitamin D Deficiency:

People who have vitamin D deficiency or an eating disorder may also get shin splints.

Osteoporosis:

 Individuals who have osteoporosis are also at a higher risk because they already have weaker bones.

Flat Foot Syndrome:

Flat foot is always a problem and It is also common in people who have flat feet or say they are at higher risk.

Lack of flexibility:

Lack of flexibility means more chances of getting shin splints.

What is the Cause?

Shin splints are an overload problem means you get this problem from overloading your muscles, shin bones, and joints. 

How do you overuse it? When you do aggressive exercises, training, and other activities beyond your capacity, you are at a higher risk of getting shin splints. Some everyday activities cause this issue.

  • Running is the primary cause. When you run on hills and rough surfaces, you are at higher risk.
  • Long-distance running. 
  • Training aggressively and doing it for a longer time. 
  • When you increase the intensity of training from a routine.
  • Doing intense exercises.
  • One of the significant causes is wearing the wrong shoes. Wearing the wrong shoe wrong size of shoes make you are at higher risk. 

What are the Symptoms?

We have discussed the causes, now let’s get to know about the symptoms. How will you know that you have shin splints? 

People with shin splints will be having the enlisted following symptoms. A person might not show all the signs explained below.

  • Experiencing pain in the front part of the lower leg. 
  • When you exercise, your pain develops. 
  • When you have pain on the other side of the shin bone.
  • When you are experiencing pain in the muscles.
  • When you experience pain, stretch in the inner part of the lower leg.
  • When you also feel soreness and tenderness along with pain.
  • When you think your feet are numb.
  • When you feel weakness in the feet.
  • Swelling also occurs in the lower leg. But it is usually mild, not that severe. 
  • When your shin feels hot. 
  • When you feel pain in the shins, even when you are taking a rest.

How are Shin Splints Diagnosed? 

Shin splints are usually not severe and can generally, treated at home with remedies and rest, but you should call your doctor if you experience any symptoms below.

  • You still have pain even after icing, rest, and pain relievers. 
  • You are not sure about your pain cause and reason. 
  • When your lower leg gets swollen, and it’s getting worst. 
  • When your shin becomes red and feels hot when touched.

When you have any of the symptoms enlist above, you should immediately see your health provider. They will do a proper examination and even tests to find out the problem and recommend treatment.

What are the Treatments?

There are different treatments available for shin splints. The treatment depends on case to case and the severity of the problem. If the problem is mild, then it can be treated at home.

Home Remedies/Treatment:

Shin splints are treated at home by following the below

  • Take a rest and relax from physical activities and give your legs time to rest and recover.
  • Doing icing also reduces and relieves the pain. 
  • Doing stretching exercises
  • Getting new pair of shoes for shin splints

By following these remedies, the symptoms can go away in about two weeks. 

Doctor visit:

If the problem is of severe type and causing you too much pain and extreme discomfort, you must visit/ see a doctor. The doctor usually suggests the following

  • Keep your legs always elevated.
  • Use foam rollers for massage
  • Wearing the elastic compress bandages. 
  • The doctor might also prescribe medicines.

Surgery:

Your doctor may also suggest surgery if your symptoms are severe and do not go away in months. This surgery is called fasciotomy. In this procedure, your doctor will make minor cuts in the fascia muscles around the calf muscles. The reason for doing it is to relieve pain in the legs. 

Surgery is the last resort to treat this problem.

Are there any side Effects of Treatment?

There are side effects of the treatment, but only when the medications you are using for long. If you want to avoid the side effects, always ask your consultant to give to minimum dose. 

Some of the side effects include

  • If you have a Heartburn
  • If your Stomach pain is troubling you and very rarely stomach ulcers
  • High blood pressure
  • Headache and dizziness 

Can we Prevent Shin Splints?

Shin splints can be cured and prevented also both ways. It is recommended if you follow the things mentioned below, you can easily prevent shin splints.

  • Wear the shoes that fit you completely. Do not work out in worn-out shoes. 
  • Stretch your muscles on daily basis before exercising to warm them up.
  • Start exercise slowly when you do a new activity. For example, if you start running, increase your distance and pace gradually.
  • Do not run consecutively and continuously. Cross-train with low-impact exercises such as swimming.
  • Rest between the activities to allow your muscles to rest
  • Avoid running on rough surfaces and intense exercise.

Are There Any Complications associated with Shin Splints?

There are no such complications related to shin splints. But if your leave your pain untreated, do not rest, and do not let your muscles heal, your shin splint can develop into a stress fracture. A stress fracture is caused by the occurrence when there are small cracks in the bone. The usual Doctors’ treatments for stress fractures are by recommending using crutches or wearing a walking boot until your bones heal. 

Do you think Shin Splints are Permanent?

The answer is No. Fortunately, Shin splints are not permanent and can go away with time. Sometimes it goes quickly if treated well, and usually, it takes time and effort. Different methods help you ease pain, such as rest, changing your exercise routine, and wearing comfortable shoes. 

If your shin splints take a longer time to go away, you should see a doctor. Your doctor will do an examination and analysis and recommend treatment based on the diagnosis.

Signs of Healing:

Shin splints sometimes cause significant discomfort and pain to people and might take some time to heal, and there are signs of healing. What are those signs are present below. 

  • Your injured leg is flexible now like your other leg. 
  • Your injured leg feels strong, just like your other leg. 
  • You can directly jump, run and jog without having pain. 
  • You can now play the sports that used to be painful.

There is no exact time of healing of shin splints. It depends on person to person and the case as well. Recovery also depends on the cause. People usually get time to heal, such as 3 to 6 months.

Final Thoughts:

Shin splints are caused mainly by rough and excessive activities. When you continuously do such activities and do not rest to relax your muscles, you are more likely to develop shin splints. 

In this article, we have discussed shin splints in detail with all the facts. We are hopeful that you must have got an idea of what are shin splints? How are they caused? Shin splints, What are the symptoms? What are possible treatments and prevention? 

Shin splints are easily takable by caring for small things such as wearing the right shoes and proper rest.

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