Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) also known as “Shin Splints”, refers to the pain in the lower part of the leg or shins. It is also called “overuse injury” as shin splints often happen from too much physical activity. It is prevalent among sportspersons especially footballers, baseball, basketball players and athletes. Shin splints can happen anytime anywhere no matter if you are running on the field or running to catch a cab. It can also happen from standing without any breaks for a long time.
The cause for this is usually the Tibialis Anterior muscle getting irritated or swollen from overuse or sudden strain. Tiny breaks or stress fracture in the tibia can also be the reason. Flat Feet or Overpronation in which the arch of the foot collapses with the impact of a step can cause shin splints as well.
In most cases shin splints heal by themselves. You can also see a doctor or a chiropractor in order to get rid of the pain quickly. Chiropractic care aims to correct the biomechanics of the knee and the leg. The Tibialis Anterior muscle is then exposed to less stress thus reducing the chances of shin splints in the future.
Some simple treatments to heal shin splints easily and quickly are:
Give Rest To Your Body: It takes time to heal and exertion will only worsen the problem. Take some time off from your activities.
Apply Ice Packs To The Shin: Placing ice on the shin will ease the pain and reduce the swelling. Do this for 2 to 3 days, every 3 to 4 hours for 20 to 30 minutes until the pain subsides.
Take Prescription Anti-Inflammatory Painkillers: Try taking NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen (consult your doctor first) to reduce the swelling and pain. Do be careful as these drugs do have their side effects that include chances of bleeding or ulcers. Use them strictly on the advice of your doctor.
Shoe Arch Supports For Flat Feet: If shin splint is caused by flat feet, arch supports are available for shoes. These can be bought from the store or custom made.
Chiropractic Care: As mentioned earlier, it aims to find the root cause of the shin splint. If the knee and leg biomechanics are at fault then it puts undue pressure on the muscles. The chiropractor corrects the alignment and biomechanics to prevent future shin splints.
Neoprene Sleeve: Apart from giving warmth to the leg, it also supports the leg from feeling like its sagging.
Physical therapy: This works to strengthen the leg muscles and reduces the pain and chances of future shin splints.
Surgery might be required only in the rarest of the rare cases. If you are an athlete, buying good athletic shoes will be a good investment to protect your shins. Avoid doing exercise on surfaces like gravel and marble. Shin splints are not a problem to be worried about, just follow these simple tips and you will be better soon.