Shin splints is a general medical term denoting medial tibial stress syndrome, a slow healing and painful condition in the shins, often caused by the stresses of running, jumping, dancing, sprinting, and athletic activity.
Causes: A possible contributing cause of shin muscle pain is the relative weakness of the muscles on the front of the lower leg (the shin), compared to the relative strength of the calf muscles, at the back of the leg. Shin muscle strengthening exercises usually are prescribed to balance the muscular imbalance. The shin pain caused by medial tibial stress syndrome usually lasts around ten days, the pain slowly diminishing as the muscle-strength imbalance is corrected. The shin pain is attributed to a forced extension of the muscle by the opposing calf muscles. An overused muscle is one cause of shin splints, either as an acute injury or as delayed onset muscle soreness. Chronic Compartment Syndrome and Pes Planus (flat foot) are also possible causes of shin splints.
Diagnosis: Chronic Compartment Syndrome may be the problem if pain worsens steadily during exercises rather than improving as the ligaments and muscles warm. Tingling in the foot is a particular red flag; it indicates compression of the nerve.
If a bone problem is suspected to be causing inflammation of connective tissue, a bone scan can be useful in confirming the diagnosis. In most cases the best thing for shin splints is REST. It may take weeks or months of healing depending on different cases of shin splints.
If you or someone you know suffers from shin splints, contact our office today. Our multidisciplinary team can help you get back to the activities that you enjoy in no time.
-Written by Jenn Lusk, LMT, CTA, PTT