Shin Splints consists in a throbbing pain in the shin bone area or tibia caused by damage to the tendon adjacent to the tibia. The consequent soreness arises in the front or inside section of the shin bone. In most cases, shin splints in athletes results from intense physical activity such as running or jumping; shin splints in athletes is a condition that can often take a long time to heal.
Shin Splints: Symptoms
Shin splint symptoms that are most common include inflammation and/or soreness around the shin area, especially after running, walking, or participating in sports activities. It is common for the pain to present itself when starting the exercise, then to diminish after warming up, then to resurface when getting into rest. It is not uncommon for shin pain to occur in people who have just started to get involved in running or walking activities.
Common Causes of Shin Splints
The most common cause of shin splints in athletes is excessive stretching of the muscles and tendons adjacent to the shin bones, which are the tibia and the fibula. Overuse of these muscles by runners and other athletes is the most common reason for this condition. Other causes for shin splints in athletes can also be due to overuse of the anterior tibialis muscle in the front of the leg, along the outside front of the shin bones.
Over pronation of the feet is often a significant contributor to shin splints in athletes. Over pronation causes internal tibial rotation and intensifies the tractional forces on the muscles and ligaments in the lower leg.
Treating Shin Splints In Runners
For the immediate term, it is recommended that the individual rests to help alleviate shin splints in athletes. Running and other strenuous activities should be minimized until the condition is under control. Shin splints can frequently be prevented by going through a warm-up period before strong physical activity. It is of utmost importance for runners and athletes to gradually build up their level of activity, and always go through a proper warm-up before sudden or intense exercise. Changing your running style to eliminate overstriding and avoiding heavy heel strike can also reduce shin pain in the long term.
Using adequate footwear is also a good way to prevent and reduce the pain associated with shin splints, especially for runners who use a heavy heel strike. Running shoes with proper rear foot stability should be used whenever possible. Additionally, orthotics for sports shoes are useful by helping to correct excessive pronation and providing heel cushioning, thus reducing the impact while providing heel stability.
Runners and other athletes need to constantly engage in proper foot care in order to stay in top performance shape.