This condition, commonly known as shin splints, is very common among people who are physically active. The tibia bone is housed in the lower leg, and is surrounded by tendons, muscles, and tissue. Inflammation in this area usually occurs where the bone and muscle are connected, and is a result of overuse and excessive strain.
Have you started a new exercise routine? Are you working out more often, or for a longer period of time? Any sudden changes to your normal exercise frequency and intensity can bring on shin pain. Sports or workouts that involve sudden starts and stops, and/or quick movements are also problematic. Runners, tennis players, and dancers are among those who often experience this type of lower leg pain.
Along with this discomfort, which can be sharp or dull, you may experience some swelling. The area is sometimes sore to the touch. Pain may occur only during activity, but over time it can continue even when you are not active.
My shins hurt. What does that have to do with my feet?
A lot more than you would imagine! One of the biggest risk factors for developing shin splints is the mechanics of your feet. Both flat feet and high arches impact the distribution of weight across the foot as it hits the ground. These examples of faulty foot mechanics cause the ankle to roll in more than necessary putting excessive strain on the tibia and surrounding area. For the same reason, improper and/or ill-fitting footwear is also a contributing cause of this condition.
Can I prevent shin splints?
Yes. There are many things that you can do to prevent shin splints from developing.
- Shoes: Purchase activity appropriate shoes that fit your feet well, provide shock absorption, and fit well. Replace your shoes when they are worn out. A good rule of thumb for runners is to buy new shoes every 350 to 500 miles.
- Orthotics: Custom orthotics may provide extra support for your particular foot mechanics. Talk to Podiatrist Lawrence Kales about your options.
- Activity: New exercise routines should be started gradually. Mix-up your workout with lower impact workouts like swimming to give your shins a rest. Consider strength training for your lower legs.
- Listen: If you start to experience shin pain, your body is telling you to rest. Listen! Choose a different activity that day that will give your shins time to recover.
What treatments are available for shin splints?
Most people are able to address the pain of shin splints at home with rest, icing, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. A simple change in shoes may also help. If you have reoccurring shin splint you may have a structural defect in your foot. If this is the case, Podiatrist Lawrence Kales can assist you with custom orthotics that will address issues of foot structure and support. Patience is required to allow your lower legs to heal completely, so don’t resume your normal workout routine until the pain and swelling has subsided.
Podiatrist Lawrence Kales and his friendly staff want to help you get back to your favorite exercise. With convenient offices in Hudson, FL (727-868-2128) and Spring Hill, FL (352-683-5799), you’ll be on your feet before you know it. Schedule an appointment today!