Medial tibial stress syndrome – shin splints – is a common injury among athletes and those who spend a good amount of time on their feet. Shin splints are characterized by tenderness and pain within the shinbone. The condition – and the pain – can become worse with the pounding and vibrations that accompany running and walking, especially on hard surfaces. Left untreated, shin splints can develop into stress fractures, a considerably more painful and concerning condition. Unlike many other injuries, shin splits can be prevented by conscientious training and understanding your body’s limitations. If you do find yourself with shin splints, it’s important to know how to treat them, and when it’s time to seek out a qualified podiatrist to ensure you are on the right path to recovery.
How do you get shin splints?
There are some physiological reasons why one might develop shin splints – running on flat feet may be one; however, most cases of shin splints are the result of either inexperience or poor habits. Running on hard or uneven surfaces can wreak havoc on your shins. Lack of flexibility or not being warmed up before exercising or hitting the court can also attribute to shin splints. Wearing shoes that are inappropriate for your activity; ones that don’t provide the right amount of cushioning or are worn to the soles, are also culprits of shin splints. Additionally, especially for runners, shin splints can occur when too many miles are taken on before the body is conditioned to do so.
Treating shin splints at home
Mild cases of shin splints can often be remedied at home. Successful home treatments include icing and using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. Obviously, it’s important to stay off your feet, especially if you stand for long periods of time or pounding the pavement or court. Wrapping your shins provides relief, as does gentle stretching and non-weight bearing activities, like swimming or water aerobics.
Shin splints: when to seek professional care
Just because you are experiencing pain in your shins doesn’t mean you have shin splints; that’s why it’s important to seek professional medical attention. A qualified podiatrist can determine if your pain is shin splints, tendonitis, a stress fracture, a strain or sprain, or even a ruptured Achilles tendon. Too often painful leg conditions are misdiagnosed as shin splints, so it’s best to confirm your suspicions with a medical doctor who specializes in these conditions.
If you live in the greater San Antonio area, The Podiatry Group of South Texas can properly diagnose the source of your shin pain, then provide you the right treatment to ensure recovery. Don’t let shin splints or an injury sideline you from the activities you love. The expert providers at The Podiatry Group of South Texas provide comprehensive care and can help. Call us today (210) 227-8700 or request an appointment online.