Shin splints usually refers to any type of pain that emerges during exercise. The pain is usually a result of an inflammation in the tendons- the cord like structures that fix bone and muscle together. Another reason is due to small little fractures that occur in the tibia bone due to overuse. Shin splints can be said as overuse injuries, which means that they appear when people use them for more than they are capable of enduring. Shin splints is responsible for injuries in quite a large number of people.
What Does It Feel Like When You Have Shin Splints?
Different people describe shin splints in different terms. The commonest symptom of shin splints is a pain along the border of the shin bone or tibia. There could be some swelling in the area where the pain is most intense. Some say they feel like an aching feeling, which is quite vague. Shin splints usually occur at the inside of the shin bone above the ankle, or at the outside of the shin below the knee. The pain can be very sharp or razor-like or just the opposite- dull and throbbing. For many people, the pain usually aggravates when the sore spot is touched. The pain can be on both the sides of the shin bone. There can be muscle pain too. Some people may even feel weakness or numbness in the feet
Most of the cases present with problems that usually start after weeks or months of strenuous exercise. In some people, the pain may develop after just one intense exercise or run. Those having a shin splint usually experience pain while staring an exercise. The pain usually fades in many cases while the exercise continues but comes back with double the impact when the person finally steps down and rests. That is the reason why many people feel sore when they wake up the next morning.
Shin splints are caused due to an excessive pressure or force on the shin bone or the tendons that attach muscle to the shin bone. The excessive force can be due to high intensity exercise that is performed for too long. As a result of the excessive pressure, the muscle swells and creates a pressure against the shin bone, causing an inflammation and pain. Shin splints can also be seen as a result of a stress reaction to tiny bone fractures in the leg.
Risk Factors For Shin Splints
The risk factors for shin splints range from an anatomical abnormality to various exercises and activities. These include, but are not limited to-
- Flat foot syndrome, an anatomical abnormality
- Weakness in the thigh or buttock muscles
- Improper or misguided techniques of physical training
- Flexibility absence
- Running on an uneven or slanted surface, like downhill
- Running on concrete like hard surfaces
- Use of improper shoes for doing the workout or exercise
- Doing sports that have an abrupt stop and start, like soccer
- Doing exercises on an already tired muscles and tendons
Those with flat feet, dancers, athletes etc. are all prone to shin splints because of the nature of their profession
Diagnosis Of Shin Splints
Shin splints are usually diagnosed during a physical examination. A history of your physical activities will be taken and also, the techniques used by you to perform those activities will be evaluated. Sometimes, diagnostic tests and procedures may be required. These may include imaging tests like X-rays, CT scan and MRI. These are usually recommended when there is a suspicion about something other than shin splints.
Shin splints can be called as overuse injuries. They usually occur along the border of the tibia or the shin bone in the leg and result from an intense exercise carried out for a prolonged duration or with too much force. Shin splints usually go away with proper rest.