Shin splints are a type of “overuse injury” to the legs. It is not the shin bone fracturing or splintering. It is actually the muscle pulling away excessively from its attachment to the bone.
Causes of Shin Splints
This condition is especially common in runners, usually due to over training. When training, time is needed for tissues to heal and build up strength. It can also develop in athletes who have drastically increased the intensity and/or duration of their work outs by more than 10%. Many times beginner runners develop shin splints by attempting to do too much, too soon.
Poor shoe support can also cause the muscles in the legs to work harder. This is also the case if over pronation or supination occurs during activity (faulty biomechanics). This is why it is important to find the ideal fit shoe and insert for your specific foot type.
The pain is characteristic and usually located on the edge of the mid region of the leg usually next to the shin bone or tibia. It can be in different areas of the leg as well. This condition can be extreme and halt workouts.
- Dull pain on the front of the lower legs
- Mild Swelling
- Pain on the inner part of lower leg
- Pain during activity
A multi-faceted approach of “relative rest” can restore a pain free level of activity and return to activity. Treatment includes changes in workouts, ice, rest, anti inflammatory medication, etc. If left untreated, this condition may lead to a stress fracture as there is usually faulty shock absorption with your activity. As shin splints are typically caused by abnormal excessive pull of the muscle off the bone, addressing the faulty biomechanics long term usually is best.