What is a Shin Splint?
Shin Splint as a Medical Condition:
Shin Splint as a medical condition is referred to the pain in the shinbone area. Shin spint or pain in the shinbone area most commonly occurs in runners, footballers, dancers and those who are in the military. In medical terminology this condition is known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome. This most likely occurs if there is a change in training routine of athletes or if the athletes have increased their training schedule resulting in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in this area being overworked causing pain. The best way to treat Shin Splints is to follow the RICE protocol which is rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Also, altering the exercise regimen and taking it easy for some time also helps with treatment of Shin Splints.
Shin Splint as a Treatment Brace:
Shin Splints are braces which are used to provide comfort to the shin area from various kinds of pain and discomfort. A Shin splint is a form of brace in which metallic lining is given to the brace to act as a support and to provide extra comfort for the patient. The basic function of these shin splints or Shin brace is to restrict motion which can exacerbate the pain and provide comfort to the shin area. These splints are especially useful for sportsmen and runners who put extra pressure on the calf and shin area and even footballers who can be hit on the shin while playing causing pain in the shin region. Shin Splints come in various forms depending on the comfort level that they provide and the cost at which they come meaning that a splint bought at a relatively lower cost will provide less comfort than a splint which has added cushion in it for added comfort but is a bit costly.
The most commonly used Shin Splints are the Neoprene Shin Splints which are most preferred by physical therapist for injuries in the shin or the calf areas. These splints come with and without straps and help keep the injured region warm and provide comfort, support, and compression to the affected region. It also increases muscle temperature thus allowing the muscles to become more flexible and decreasing the likelihood of a muscle pull. Another form of Shin Splint is the wraparound support which helps in improving the muscle function and facilitates healing if any injury has occurred.
Shin Splints also provide compression to the shin area and help with pain relief. It can also be used in cases of Achilles tendonitis or pain in the Achilles.
It is preferred that the Shin Splints be worn for at least a period of six weeks or till the pain resolves for optimum results.
Causes of Shin Splint Disease:
As stated, Shin Splints are a result of the muscles, tendons, and bones of the shin area due to them being overworked as a result of a change in exercise regimen or increased exercise.
Symptoms of Shin Splint Disease:
Some of the symptoms of Shin Splints are:
- Tenderness along with pain and stiffness in the shinbone area
- Slight swelling in the lower half of the leg
- Initially, the pain may stop when you stop exercising but over time this pain may become continuous.
Diagnosing Shin Splint Disease:
A detailed history with a detailed account of the exercise regimen and the number of hours you spend in training can suggest to a diagnosis of Shin Splints. This can be confirmed with a physical examination and imaging studies which can help to rule out other potential causes for the symptoms like a stress fracture.
Treating Shin Splint Disease in Conjunction with Shin Splints (Brace):
Activity Modifications for Shin Splints: As stated, the most preferred way of treating Shin Splints are taking adequate rest and taking it easy in training and exercise programs allowing the area to heal and the inflammation in Shinbone area to calm down. This does not mean that you get bedridden and do nothing at all. While you should avoid putting stress on the calf and shin area you can do certain light activities like cycling or swimming.
Shin Splints (Braces) for Treating Pain in Shinbone: Wearing Shin Splints (Brace) also goes a long way in calming down the pain and inflammation in Shinbone as it restricts movement and allows the muscles and tendons to heal quickly. The therapist will tell you the best type of shin splint (brace) depending on the type of injury and the severity of it. Shin Splints brace need to be worn for about four to six weeks for optimum results.
Ice for Shin Splints: The next step towards treatment for Shin Splint is to apply ice to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes two to three times a day to calm down the inflammation.
Medications: Taking over the counter pain medications also help in relieving pain caused due to Shin Splint.
Recovery Period for Shin Splint Disease:
If the athlete follows the above protocol and avoids putting strain on the shin area then Shin Splint disease resolves within a period of four to six weeks, although if for certain reasons you are not able to strictly adhere to the restrictions then it may take a while longer for resolution of pain caused due to Shin Splint.