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Shin Splints

Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers

Podiatrists & Foot & Ankle Surgeons located in Arlington, TX & Mansfield, TX

The pain caused by shin splints occurs in 14-20% of runners and up to 35% of military recruits, but it’s a common stress injury that can affect any active individual. The experienced physicians at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers help patients successfully recover, return to their activities, and develop a training plan to prevent future shin splints. Don’t wait to get help for shin splints; they can progressively worsen and lead to a stress fracture. Call one of the offices in Arlington or Mansfield, Texas, or book an appointment online.

Shin Splints Q & A

What are shin splints?

Shin splints usually occur in both legs and are known in the medical world as medial tibial stress syndrome. As the name suggests, they’re caused by repetitive stress on the shinbone and the tendons that attach your leg muscles to the shinbone.

You may develop shin splints after any vigorous activity, but your risk is higher if:

  • You’re a runner or in military training
  • You run on uneven or hard surfaces
  • You have flat feet or high arches
  • Your shoes don’t provide the proper support
  • You suddenly increase the intensity, duration, or frequency of your exercise

Shin splints are also a common problem faced by professional dancers.

What symptoms develop due to shin splints?

Shin splints cause pain along the inner side of your shinbone or tibia, which is the large bone in the front of your lower leg. The pain varies from a sharp sensation to a dull and throbbing feeling. You may also develop mild swelling in your lower leg.

When your shin splints first appear, your pain may stop when you rest. However, shin splints progressively worsen when they’re not treated, causing continuous pain and potentially leading to a stress fracture.

How are shin splints treated?

Since shin splints are caused by overuse, treatment typically begins with several weeks of rest from the activity causing the problem. Most patients can replace the activity with a lower-impact option like swimming.

Your doctor at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers may recommend ice and elastic compression bandages to help prevent swelling and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to relieve your pain. Additional treatment may include orthotics and physical therapy.

As you recuperate, your doctor may give you exercises to stretch your lower leg muscles. Wearing supportive shoes throughout the day also helps relieve the pain and prevent future shin splints. When needed, your doctor prescribes orthotics to stabilize your foot and take the stress off your leg.

After you’ve had enough time to heal, your doctor helps you develop a plan to return to exercise, beginning at a low intensity and slowly increasing your training to prevent shin splints from recurring.

If you have pain in your lower leg, it’s important to get a prompt evaluation and an appropriate diagnosis because you may have a stress fracture resulting from shin splints. To schedule an appointment, call Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers or use the online booking feature.