Shin Splints

The terms ‘shin splints’ refers to the pain experienced in the muscles close to the shin bones, which run down the front of the lower leg, from knee to ankle. The pain itself is caused by inflammation and microfractures (tiny fractures) in the surface of the shin bone.

What causes the pain of shin splints?

The pain associated with shin splints usually occurs around the middle third of the shin, on the inner side. This is because the muscle which raises the arch of the foot is attached to the shin bone at this location. As the foot hits the ground, the arch of the foot collapses, pulling the tendon which comes from this muscle. As this process is repeated, the collapsing arch starts to pull muscle fibres loose from the shin. This damage causes bleeding around the bone, inflammation, and subsequent pain.

Who is susceptible to shin splints?

Shin splints are common in runners or joggers, and are usually caused by running or jumping on hard surfaces. Those who are not accustomed to exercise or training can also suffer from the condition, as well as experienced athletes who begin to run on harder surfaces or even simply wear unsuitable footwear.

How are shin splints treated?

The main type of treatment is also a method of prevention, and is the use of an arch to support the foot. This arch prevents the excessive pull on the tendons which cause shin splints, and can eradicate the problem almost immediately. In order to prevent shin splints, it is advisable to warm up thoroughly in order to prepare the leg muscles. It is also extremely important to wear footwear, specifically with arch and ankle support, that will support the foot and prevent excessive pulling on the tendons. The risk of shin splints is also reduced when running on a softer surface, such as grass.

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