SYMPTOMS, TREATMENT & PREVENTION
Are you experiencing an aching or throbbing pain in your shins? Is this pain or discomfort keeping you from running and exercising? You're likely experiencing one of the most common running injuries known as shin splints.
What are shin splints?
Shin Splints are one of the most common injuries that runners come across. The term is typically applied to any pain that's occurring below the knee and above the ankle on the front of the leg. Shin splints can occur in either the inside of the leg (medial shin splints), or outside of the leg (anterior shin splints.) This injury is common among a vast assortment of athletes, from runners to dancers.
Shin splints are most common among new runners who aren't increasing their mileage gradually. If you're new to running, it's wise to build your mileage gradually, allowing you muscles time to repair and build themselves. Likewise, if you're a seasoned runner and you've recently changed your regimen (from flat surfaces to hills, for example) you too might be experiencing the ill effects of not giving your muscles time to adapt, causing shin splints to occur.
Shin Splint Symptoms:
Pain and tenderness in the lower leg
The inability to flex your toes up towards your shin without pain or discomfort
Pain in your legs between your knees and ankles that occurs after a few miles of running
It's important to remember that not all pain in your lower legs is necessarily due to shin splints. Pain in the outside part of the lower leg may be compartment syndrome, which is a swelling of muscles within a closed compartment within the lower leg. This creates pressure, unusual nerve sensations and eventually muscles weakness. To diagnose this condition you'll likely have to visit a doctor. However, before you do try using compression socks during your run. The compression might help the blood in that specific compartment flow better, relieving the pressure that's causing you discomfort. If you're a regular runner and you're experiencing pain in your lower leg around or above your ankles but below your knees, you could have a stress fracture (a micro fracture in either the tibia for fibula.) This can only be diagnosed via a professional using an x-ray.
What Causes Shin Splints?
Worn or ill-fitting running shoes
Lack of stretching
Muscle inefficiency or imbalance
Typically only 1 leg is affected when it comes to shin splints, and it's usually the runner's dominant leg. The pain is usually a result from an imbalance between the calf muscles and the muscles in the front of your leg