Shin splint is a painful condition of shin bone felt during exercises and repetitive overstraining physical activities. It is centered at the middle of the shin bone in one or both the legs. It affects mostly runners, dancers, gymnasts, athletes or military trainers. Shin splint symptoms include pain and swelling at the shin bone and others. It is usually relieved with rest, treatment and stretching exercises. In severe cases, it can cause severe pain even at rest if causative activities are continued for a long time. Its outlook is good as it responds well with rest and treatment.

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Prognosis For Shin Splints

With proper rest and rehab, the prognosis for shin splints is good. The patient can recover from spin splints with proper rest and treatment. Proper rest means absolute avoidance of activities or new injury that can hurt shin. Rest is recommended for two to three weeks. If the underlying cause is not discovered and it is continued, then there is a possibility that shin splints may return.

Recovery from shin splints also depends on the extent of injury and duration and intensity of physical therapy (exercise program) done for rehabilitation. There are high chances of regaining of the normal range of motion of the affected leg.

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Majority of people recover completely from shin splints and regain full strength and normal function and range of motion in the leg. In rare cases, surgery is required when the patient gets permanently disabled. After recovery, it is necessary for the individual to switch to properly fitted footwear and cushioned shoes to prevent future recurrence. Rehabilitation program which exercise program must be followed after recovery to strengthen the shin bone and surrounding tissues.

The overall prognosis of shin splints is very good if rest and rehabilitation program is followed properly.

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Shin splint is a condition that refers to pain in the front of the lower leg. It can happen in one or both the legs. The pain is centered at the mid-portion between knee and ankle on the tibia bone. It is caused due to inflammation of the muscles, tendons and other connective tissues around the shin bone. It is most commonly seen in dancers, athletes, gymnasts and military recruits.

Shin Splints Causes

Shin splints are caused by repetitive overstraining of calf muscles and surrounding connective tissues due to high-intensity exercises, running and heavy weight bearing activities. Past fractures can also result in the occurrence of this condition. Flat feet or overpronation, high arched feet or supination can trigger this condition. A sudden change in pace, intensity or frequency of exercises also causes this condition.

Poorly fitted shoes or worn out or old shoes cannot absorb the impact force of the exercises and strenuous activities. This may lead to strain on the muscles and connective tissues around the shin bone resulting shin splints.

Shin Splints Symptoms

Shin splints symptoms usually disappear soon after the provoking activity is ceased. These symptoms are-

  • Pain in the front of the lower leg located at the middle part of shin bone in between knees and ankles.
  • Pain can appear in one or both the legs
  • Pain is felt mostly during and soon after the exercises
  • Pain is dull or sharp
  • Pain is relieved with rest and cessation of the triggering activity
  • Swelling in the affected part
  • Numbness and weakness of the feet

In severe and neglected cases where the provoking activity is not ceased, the pain becomes worse and is felt even at rest.

Conclusion

Shin splint is a condition characterized by pain in the shin bone (front bone of lower leg) during sessions of exercises and strenuous activities. It is usually caused by the inflammation of muscles and connective tissues in the shin bone (tibia). Its prognosis is good as most of the cases are resolved successfully with rest and treatment.

Rehabilitation program after the treatment also plays an important role in the recovery of the shin splints.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: December 24, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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