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Shin Splints

What are shin splints?

Shin splints is a description for pain at the front of the lower leg. There are two types of shin splints: Anterior and Posterior.

Anterior shin splints occur in the front portion of the shin bone (tibia). Posterior shin splints occur on the inside (medial) part of the leg along the tibia. Anterior shin splints are caused by muscle imbalances, insufficient shock absorption or toe running. Excessive pronation contributes to both anterior and posterior shin splints.

Shin splints are also called periostitis.

What causes shin splints?

The most common cause is inflammation of the sheath surrounding the shin bone. The injury is an overuse injury and can be caused by running on hard surfaces, running on tip toes and sports where a lot of jumping is involved.

Symptoms of shin splints

The most common symptoms of shin splints are:

  • Tenderness over the inside of the shin.
  • Lower leg pain.
  • Lumps and bumps over the shin bone.
  • Pain when the toes or foot are bent downwards.
  • A redness over the inside of the shin.

How to avoid shin splints

You can avoid developing shin splints by strengthening the tibialis anterior muscle.

Simple simple exercises for strengthening the tibialis anterior muscle:

  1. Sit down and write the letters of the alphabet in the air with your toes.
  2. Flex and point your foot repeatedly, bending it at the ankle.
  3. Walk on your heels. Do several repetitions of 10 seconds and gradually work your way up to 30-second intervals.

Treatment options for shin splints

The most common treatment for shin splints is rest. Some of the other treatment options are:

  • Apply ice immediately. Ice will help reduce swelling.
  • Wear shock absorbing insoles in shoes.
  • Maintain fitness with other non weight bearing exercises.
  • Apply heat and use a heat retainer after the initial acute stage, particularly before training.
  • See a sports injury specialist who can advise on treatment and rehabilitation. A sports injury specialist may prescribe medication, tape the ankle for support, and massage the shin.

 

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