Shin splints is a term used to describe pain in the front of the lower leg, between the knee and the ankle.
The term shin splints refers to the pain in the lower leg. This pain can be caused by a number of factors, including the following: a stress fracture, which is a small break in one of the lower leg bonestendonitis, or inflammation of one of the tendons that connects bone to muscleswelling of the muscle of the lower leg, inside its tissue sheath (known as compartment syndrome)
Shin splints are described as very intense aching pain in the lower leg. If the person has a stress fracture, he or she may experience swelling and weakness of the lower leg.
Shin splints are generally caused by some form of vigorous athletic activity, such as overtraining during an exercise program. When the person exercises frequently without proper conditioning, the lower leg is unable to withstand the chronic stress. People who do sprinting or long-distance running are at risk for shin splints.
Activities that involve sudden starts, stops, and jumps also increase the risk for shin splints. These include: basketballgymnasticshigh-impact aerobicssoccertennisvolleyball
Following are some measures to prevent shin splints. Avoid hard surfaces, such as asphalt and concrete.Condition properly to slowly build up strength in an exercise program.Wear proper shoes for the activity being performed.Warm up and stretch before starting vigorous exercise.
Diagnosis of shin splints begins with a medical history and physical exam. The healthcare professional may order X-rays or a bone scan to detect stress fractures.
Most of the time, shin splints cause only mild, temporary pain. Occasionally, the individual may have a permanent disabling injury.
Shin splints are not contagious and pose no risk to others.
Treatment of shin splints should start with decreasing daily activity levels. If a stress fracture is found, the person must stop impact exercise such as running, for one to two months.
Other helpful measures are as follows: supportive shoes appropriate for the activityfoot orthoses, which are prescription shoe inserts, to make sure the foot strikes the ground correctlynonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also called NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (i.e., Advil, Motrin), naproxen (i.e., Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn), or ketoprofen (i.e., Oruvail)physical therapyRICE, an acrostic for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation of the lower leg
NSAIDs may cause stomach upset or allergic reactions.
After treatment, the individual should continue to follow preventive measures to avoid a recurrence of the shin splints.
Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare professional.