What are Shin Splints?

by | Feb 13, 2017 | Sports Injuries

What are shin splints?

The New Year brings new activities and resolutions. Weight-loss by becoming more active is a common resolution to start the New Year. With new activities comes new stress on your muscles, bones and joints. Although exercise is extremely beneficial, it is also important to remember moderation, which can help prevent pesky injuries such as shin splints, stress fractures, and other common over-use injuries.

The term shin splints describes a common overuse injury related to increasing exercise demand without giving the body time to adapt. Typically shin splints occur in runners, however, can be seen in other sports that have a high amount of pounding on a hard surface. This excessive pounding causes a breakdown of tissue between the tibia bone and its surrounding connective tissue. The pain will present between the knee and ankle located on the shinbone, or tibia.  Here are some common symptoms to look for:


  • Pain during or after activity
  • Pain located along the course of your shin
  • Better with rest and ice
  • May be bilateral, or on both shins

Treatment of shin splints depends on the severity of the condition. The condition typically can be diagnosed clinically, however imaging may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis or at minimum to rule out an acute fracture. The goal of treatment is to allow your body time to heal itself with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication. Most importantly reducing your activity will provide results. When thinking about prevention, easing into a high volume exercise program along with making sure your feet are equipped with a supportive shoe are two key things to avoid shin splints.  Persistent lower leg pain can result from abnormal foot position or function and can be treated with custom orthotics. Spending the time to prevent injury will save you from pain and time treating it.

The take home message is this: Take the time to listen to your body.  Starting an exercise program is exciting and should be; however, having to stop early due to a preventable injury is not.  If you develop shin splints or have any other foot or ankle problem, please call us @ 721-4007 or look us up @ alpinefoot.com