My shins hurt when I run. Have I got shin splints?
Shin splints, also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, is a general term to describe pain at the front of the lower leg, generally in the shin bone when running. It can also be experienced when walking quickly.
What causes it?
Stress on the Tibia, or shin bone, can be caused by repetitive impact or excessive bending stress caused by overtraining, insufficient cushioning in the shoe, running repetitively on hard surfaces, or tightness in key muscles which attach to the tibia such as the calf or the extensor muscles at the front of the leg.
Should I stop running until it gets better?
The key is to manage loads through the Tibia by reducing mileage and intensity, wearing a running shoe with good cushioning and stretching key muscles at the front and back of the leg to relieve pulling stress on the bone. Applying an ice pack to the affected area can help relieve pain. If pain continues despite these measures then it is best to see a specialist.
How can a Podiatrist help?
There are many other causes of shin pain, such as muscle strains at the front of the leg or even a stress fracture. Your Podiatrist can help by correctly diagnosing the cause of your shin pain and designing a treatment plan to reduce pain and strengthen the muscles around the tibia so it is better able to tolerate the high loads associated with running.
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