Shin splints are a condition characterized by severe pain in the lower leg. It generally occurs as a result of overstressing the shin muscles that is common in athletes and runners. It is known as medial tibial stress syndrome in medical terms. It is a cumulative stress disorder where the repeated force or stress on the bones, muscles and joints of the lower legs prevents the body to naturally repair and restore it. The recovery period is increased and sometimes it is not enough to restore the damage done to the bone and it leads to small fractures in the bone.

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Can Shin Splints Cause Permanent Damage?

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Can Shin Splints Cause Permanent Damage?

It is important to give the shin bone time to heal and repair itself. If not done so, it can permanently damage the shins. The pain should be taken seriously when present for a long time. It could be due to other reasons as well as shin splints. The doctor will confirm the diagnosis of the condition with the help of X-Rays and bone scans.

It is important to take adequate rest and adopt a healthy lifestyle in order to heal the shin splints. After a shin splints injury adequate rest should be taken before resuming work. A healthy diet rich in calcium, magnesium and vitamin D is essential for strong and healthy bones. It is also needed for healing and recovery of the bone and tissues. Hot baths with essential oils will prevent inflammation and help soothe the muscles and bones of the shins. Where there is deformity of the foot then use of insoles and orthotics in your shoes is necessary to prevent further stress on the bone and muscles of the leg. Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers is necessary in some cases where the pain is not relieved by natural ways. The NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen that will help with pain and swelling.

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In the long run it is important to take good care of your leg by avoiding undue stress and prevent excess workload on the muscles and tissues and give proper time to heal the injured muscles. An adequate rest of 2 weeks is necessary for the shin splints to recover. It could also be prolonged depending on the condition of the bone and patient.

Causes Of Shin Splints

People who participate in strenuous physical activities or stop-start sports such as tennis, soccer and basketball are more prone to developing shin splints. The inflammation of the underlying sheath caused due to excessive stress on the muscles and bones leads to chronic pain in the bone and surrounding tissues. This force causes the muscles to swell and further increases the pressure over the underlying shin bone leading to pain and inflammation. They can also result from stress reactions to minute cracks in the bones and tibial bone fractures. These minute cracks can repair itself if you give adequate time and rest. But if the body does not get time and rest these tiny cracks can result in complete fractures commonly known as stress fractures.

People who have an anatomical flat foot are more prone to shin splints. Improper training techniques of exercising and stretching and rigorous sports can aggravate and put you at a risk of developing shin splints. It is also not beneficial to run on hard concrete surfaces or uneven terrains with old worn out shoes, as they will further lead to stress on the bones and muscles.

Symptoms Of Shin Splints

The common symptoms of shin splints include a dull ache pain in the front part of the lower leg that develops into a sharp pain while exercising and working out. There will be numbness and weakness on the feet along with muscle pain on either side of the shin bone. Mild swelling might also be present in some cases with tenderness and soreness on the inner part of the lower leg. It is important to pay attention to these signs and symptoms of shin splints otherwise it might lead to further complications such as repeated fractures and damage to the tibial bone and underlying tissues.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: April 19, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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