Shin splints are a common injury that occur in the lower leg, just below the knee, that result in pain on either the front outside or inside of the leg. Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, can be one of the most frustrating injuries for avid runners. The term “shin splints” is used a lot for general pain in the front, lower half of the leg, but actually have a more specific definition. The pain associated with shin splints is caused by an inflammation of the muscles and tendons that are connected to the tibia. Typical symptoms are pain the inner edge of the shinbone, pain during and after exercise, and tenderness to the touch.
Some of the most significant causes of shin splints include:
- Excessive stress and overworked legs
- Inadequate stretching
- Overpronation (flattening or rolling inward of the foot)
- Improper prevention techniques
Since shin splints are a common occurrence among the physically active, there are many tips and tricks available to help prevent them. One cause of shin splints is a sudden increase to one’s workout. Instead, gradually increasing the duration and intensity of your exercise. Also, make sure to stretch properly prior to working out or a run. If you are prone to shin splints, try exercises like using resistance bands, calf stretches and toe curls.
Another option is to use a calf support or sleeve to prevent shin splints. These provide compression, support, and warmth to aid in recovery.
Always consult a medical professional if prolonged pain or swelling occurs.