What Are Shin Splints?

The term “shin splint” is used very widely and refers mainly to pain occurring in the lower leg. The type of pain that you feel when you have shin splints can range from feelings of soreness, stabbing, aching, or sharp shooting sensations, and these symptoms can all range from moderate to severe.

If you are experiencing pain at the front and outer portion of the lower leg, this could mean that you have shin splint pain affecting the anterior muscles of the legs. If the pain is coming from the back and inner side of the leg, the problem is in the posterior medial muscles. It is very important that you are able to determine the exact place where you are feeling the pain, as this is a key factor in diagnosing the problem and treating it. Unfortunately, if you do not get the right treatment in the early stages, it may progress to become an incapacitating and more frequently occurring problem.

When you first begin to notice shin splint pain, you do not want to put extra strain on the muscles, but you also cannot just simply stop using them or limit their use drastically. You want to ensure that you maintain the strength and the tone of your muscles by doing stretching exercises. This will help to ensure that you don’t get shortening or tightening of the muscles, which will lead to spasms and more problems. You should also ensure that your shoes fit properly at all times, and wear shoes that have a shock absorbent layer to cushion the effects of walking, jogging, etc. If you continue sport activities or workouts, it is also important to make sure that you warm up properly, so as not to increase the pain and exacerbate the problem even more.

Here are some suggestions to make your daily life more bearable while you are suffering from shin splints —

  • Warm up before exercising (this includes stretching)
  • After your exercise is through you will need to have a cool down period to prevent your muscles from becoming stiff, which could worsen the pain from shin splints.
  • Once you start feeling pain you will need to cut down on your duration, while also maintaining your regular exercise or training routines.
  • If you had planned to start a new routine, start small and work your way up so you don’t further injure yourself and worsen your shin splint pain.
  • Wear the proper shoes for walking and running; those that have shock absorbent properties are best.

If you experience pain while exercising or playing a sport you should stop what you are doing immediately. Try to remain inactive in terms of exercise for a day or two. If upon resuming you are still feeling the pain, it is best to see visit a doctor to evaluate your symptoms.

At North Tampa Spine & Joint Center we have treated many patients with shin splint pain. If you would like to discuss your treatment options, please give us a call or request an appointment here.