The term “shin splints” describes pain felt along the front of lower leg, at the shin bone. This pain concentrates in the lower leg between the knee and ankle.Shin splints is a cumulative stress disorder.
The nature of shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), most often can be captured in four words: too much, too soon.
In the absence of a more specific diagnosis, shin splints should probably just be called “tibial pain syndrome” — unexplained pain around the tibia.
- An anatomical abnormality (such as flat foot syndrome)
- Muscle weakness in the thighs or buttocks
- Lack of flexibility
- Improper training techniques
- Running downhill
- Running on a slanted surface or uneven terrain
- Running on hard surfaces like concrete
- Using inappropriate or worn-out shoes for running or working out
- Participating in sports that have fast stops and starts (like soccer or downhill skiing)
- A dull ache in the front part of the lower leg
- Pain that develops during exercise
- Pain on either side of the shin bone
- Muscle pain
- Pain along the inner part of the lower leg
- Tenderness or soreness along the inner part of the lower leg
- Swelling in the lower leg (usually mild, if present)
- Numbness and weakness in the feet
- Keep your legs elevated.
- Use ice packs to reduce swelling. Shop for cold compresses.
- Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen sodium (Aleve).
- Wear elastic compression bandages. Shop for elastic compression bandages.
- Use a foam roller to massage your shins. Shop for foam rollers.
- Wearing shoes that fit well and offer good support
- Using shock-absorbing insoles.
- Avoiding exercising on hard or slanted surfaces or uneven terrain
- Increasing exercise intensity gradually
- Warming up before exercising
- Making sure to stretch properly
- Engaging in strength training, specifically toe exercises that build calf muscles
- Not attempting to exercise through the pain
- Surgery is rarely required to repair shin splint problems. Shin splints, however, which are complicated by compartment syndrome may require surgery, often immediately.