Health Blog & Videos

Shin Splints

Most people have had shin splints at one time or another. Whether you are an athlete who runs daily or suddenly had to run to catch the bus, you may have felt some throbbing and aching in your shins.

Shin splints, also known as tibial stress syndrome, are very common. They're the cause of 13% of all running injuries. The pain may come after ramping up their workout intensity, or changing the surface they run on -- like shifting from a dirt path to asphalt.

So what exactly is going on when the pain comes? Shin splints aren’t really a single medical condition. It’s actually just a symptom of an underlying problem cause by:

  • irritated and swollen muscles, often caused by overuse
  • stress fractures, which are tiny, hairline breaks in the lower leg bones
  • overpronation or ''flat feet" -- when the impact of a step causes the arch of your foot to collapse, stretching the muscles and tendons

Shin splints cause dull, aching pain in the front of the lower leg. Some people feel it only during exercise; others, when they've stopped exercising. Depending on the exact cause, the pain may be located along either side of the shinbone or in the muscles. The area may be painful to the touch. Swollen muscles can sometimes irritate the nerves in the feet, causing them to feel weak or numb.

Icing the shin, anti-inflammatory painkillers, arch supports for your shoes may provide relief from the pain. However if the pain continues, Dr. Huston at Atlantic Spine Clinic has treated many runners who have had the same problem. If your shins are giving you pain, give us a call 843-884-1876

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