What Are Shin Splints?

Anyone who has taken up running will likely come across the term Shin splints. Shin splints are a common issue which affects plenty of both experienced and inexperienced runners. Insidious in nature, shin splints come on slowly, but are very tricky to shift once they have taken hold.

But what exactly are they, and what can you do about them?

Shin splints, technically called medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) are often confused with two very similar issues.

  • Pain on the anterior (outside) of the shin could be compartment syndrome, which is caused by a swelling of the muscle in a compartment, which causes pressure and then pain.
  • A pain in the lower leg could also be a stress fracture, which is an incomplete crack in the bone. The easiest way to determine which issue you have is to raise your foot up at the ankle and flex your foot hard – if there is pain then it is likely you have shin splints. But, if there is a specific point of pain when you run your fingers down the inside of the shin then it may be a stress fracture.

If you suspect you have a bone fracture then a scan is the only way to properly confirm this, and it is a far more serious injury than regular shin splints.

What Causes Shin Splints?

Shin splints can be summed up in 4 words – too much, too soon. They typically come on when people take up exercise for the first time, or dramatically increase the volume or type of their workload, instead of doing things slowly and steadily. Also, running on hard surfaces, at a larger bodyweight, can be an issue for runners in particular and may accelerate the development of shin splints.

However, poor movement patterns and old trainers among many other thing can also be causes. As with most things, finding the root cause of the issue goes a large way to resolving it. Therefore, seeking professional advice is strongly recommended.

Can You Do Anything At Home?

While we recommend that you see a professional like Morley Chiropractic Clinic in Leeds, there are things you can do at home to help ease the pain while they heal.

  • Rest – Simply stopping the aggravating cause of the pain for two weeks or so may help dramatically.
  • Ice – Hold ice wrapped in a towel against your shins for ten minutes every few hours. This may help reduce the swelling and ease the pain.
  • Pain relief – Over the counter medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen may offer some relief.
  • Switch to low impact exercise – changing from the original, impactful sport to something like cycling or swimming will give them chance to heal while also keeping you fit.

The above treatments may offer some reprieve, but may not necessarily heal you, or give you long lasting relief. For a proper, structured recovery programme we at Morley Chiropractic clinic recommend seeking professional advice.

We have experts in several fields here at the clinic, so we will work with you to ascertain the root cause of your shin splints, and then tailor your recovery programme accordingly.

To find out more just call us on 0113 2383693 or contact us here.

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