Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.
If you’ve ever decided to really push yourself on a run after several months (or years!) of not running, then you may have had the unfortunate experience of developing shin splints.
One of the 10 most common running injuries, shin splints are those burning, aching pains you get on the inner part of the tibia (shinbone). Shin splints occur when muscles, tendons and bone in this region become inflamed. Repetitive activity – especially in a body that’s not accustomed to the stress of running – causes this inflammation.
Of course, it’s not just new runners who can develop shin splints. Even seasoned, experienced runners can develop shin splints if they try to increase their speed or distance too quickly. Changes in your running routine, including the type of surface you run on and any new changes in elevation, can lead to shin splints.
Symptoms of Shin Splints
Symptoms may include:
- Pain on the inside edge of the shinbone
- Swelling in the same area
Pain could be sharp or dull/throbbing. While shin splint pain sometimes occurs during exercise, this isn’t always the case. Pain may not appear until afterwards. Lastly, some people experience pain or irritation from outside pressure on the injured area.
Diagnosing Shin Splints
If you are experiencing pain in the tibia region, see your doctor or a clinic near you for an evaluation. It’s important for a medical professional to examine your shin and rule out other possible injuries, including stress fractures and tendinitis. An MRI or some other imaging scan may be necessary to test for these other conditions.
Treating Shin Splints
Shin splints are almost always treated non-surgically through the RICE method (rest, ice, compression and elevation) and NSAIDs for the management of pain and swelling. Ask your doctor about how you can modify your stretching and exercise habits to prevent/reduce shin splints. Also, talk to your doctor about the possibility of using an orthotic device in your shoe to reduce stress on your tibia. Orthotic devices can be especially helpful for individuals with flat feet or chronic shin splints.
See a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor for Shinbone Pain
If you’re experiencing pain in the shins (whether or not pain is brought on by exercise), consider seeing a doctor near you for an evaluation. You can schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.