Officially called medial tibial syndrome, shin splints are commonly occurring medical conditions that are characterized by pain in the shins. In most cases of shin splints the pain is typically experienced along the shinbone (also known as the tibia and it is the large bone found in front of the lower leg beneath the knee) and in the surrounding connective tissues and muscles.
When shin splints first develop, they may display symptoms of mild pains and soreness along with slight swellings and inflammation. While shin splints are still in the beginning stages of the condition, their uncomfortable symptoms tend to subside once the physical activities are halted. However, if the conditions are allowed to progress without treatment, the symptoms will worsen and continue to plague their sufferers even during periods of rest and relaxation.
The Most Common Causes of Shin Splints
1. Tilted Surfaces.
Conditions such as shin splints are brought about by running, jogging and power walking on a slope tilted up or down such as in cases of hilly or mountainous terrains as well as treadmills.
2. Undue Strain.
Additional causes of shin splints may include jumping, cycling or any number of other activities that put undue strain and stress on the shins and thus lead to injuries.
3. Stop and Go.
Sports activities which involve frequent and repeated starts and stops such as in basketball, tennis, baseball and golf have often been known to be the causes of shin splints.
4. Insufficient Rest.
Training or exercising too strenuously for extended periods of time without allowing the muscles sufficient time to rest or recover is a frequent cause for shin splints.
5. Unsuitable Shoes.
Wearing inappropriate shoes or shoes that have become too worn out to provide proper support and cushioning can lead to a variety of injuries including shin splints.
6. Flat Arches.
Flat feet are prone to roll inward when running and / or walking and thus put too much stress on the shin muscles which can often lead to shin splints.
Preventing Shin Splints
Shin splints may be slow to heal and it is therefore advisable to take precautions to avoid or prevent them:
Shoes must be appropriate for the particular activity and they must be replaced with a new pair every 350 to 500 miles.
2. Arch Supports.
Well fitting arch supports can prevent many cases of shin splints, especially for those whose arches are flat.
Physical activities do not have to cease completely in order to allow muscles to rest. However, it is important to alternate between the types of activities.
It is important not to go overboard as each new physical activity should begin slowly and increased only gradually.
5. Strengthening Shin Muscles.
Particular exercises which strengthen the shin muscles will ultimately prevent many cases of shin splints.
Treating Shin Splits
Shin splints are usually easy enough to treat without professional assistance by:
Allowing the painful muscles to rest helps them heal and regain their strength.
the painful muscles to rest helps them heal and regain their strength.
Applying ice or cold packs to the painful muscles will reduce their swelling and inflammation as well as ease their pain.
Lifting the shin high above the heart reduces swelling and promotes faster healing.
Wrapping the affected area with an elastic bandage decreases swelling and often reduces pain.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs and pain reliever relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
6. Massage Therapy.
Massaging the affected area promotes increased blood circulation and thus expedites healing.