Shin Splints

MB Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Specialists

Podiatry & Foot and Ankle Surgeons located in Glendale, CA & Palmdale, CA

Anyone can develop a shin splint, but the condition occurs in 14-20% of runners and up to 35% of military recruits. The podiatry team at MB Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Specialists offers comprehensive care for shin splints, from accurately diagnosing the problem to conservative care that relieves the pain and helps your muscles heal. If you have pain along your shin bone, call the office in Glendale or Palmdale, California, or schedule an appointment online today.

Shin Splints Q & A

What are shin splints?

A shin splint (also called medial tibial stress syndrome) is an overuse injury that causes pain along your shin bone (tibia). Shin splints most often develop in runners. However, jumping activities, dancing, and the intensive activities of new military recruits also increase your risk of developing this painful condition.

What causes shin splints?

Shin splints develop when you engage in repetitive activities that overwork the muscles. Many people end up with shin splints after they increase the frequency, duration, or intensity of their exercise regimen.

You also have a higher chance of shin splints if you have flat feet, rigid arches, or exercise without supportive footwear.

What symptoms develop due to shin splints?

The primary symptom is pain along the shin bone. You may also have pain on the inside of your lower leg near your ankle, mild swelling, and tenderness to the touch.

You may feel sharp, razor-like pain or dull, throbbing pain. No matter what type of pain you feel, it occurs during and after exercise but should improve when you rest.

How are shin splints diagnosed?

Your provider at MB Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Specialists reviews your symptoms and athletic activities, then carefully examines your leg. They may want you to have an X-ray or MRI so they can see the structures and rule out other conditions. For example, stress fractures and tendonitis tend to mimic the symptoms of shin splints.

How are shin splints treated?

Your treatment begins by stopping the activity causing the pain. This gives the muscles and bones time to heal. You don’t have to sit around doing nothing. Most people can temporarily switch to a low-impact activity.

In addition to rest, your treatment may include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Icing for 20 minutes several times a day
  • Compression with an elastic bandage
  • Stretching exercises
  • Wearing supportive shoes
  • Custom or off-the-shelf orthotics

You should be pain-free for at least two weeks before you go back to the activity responsible for your shin splints. When you start exercising again, your provider helps you create a return-to-exercise plan that will get you back into action at a pace that prevents a reinjury.

If you need help with shin splints, call MB Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Specialists, or book an appointment online today.