Shin Splints: Everything You Should Know

Ask any runner what their nemesis is, and shin splits always top the list. Ask any foot doctor in Woodlands, TX, what their patients’ number one complaint is and, again, you’ll hear the term shin splits. If you’ve never dealt with shin splits, you’re one of the lucky few. The truth is that it’s a common problem for runners.


What Are Shin Splints?

That’s a great question and, truthfully, there are a few different answers. Any of the following conditions fall into this category:

  • Tibial stress fractures
  • Medial tibial stress syndrome
  • Compartment syndrome


According to foot and ankle specialists in The Woodlands, TX, the most common form of shin splints is medial tibial stress syndrome. This happens when there is degeneration or irritation of the soft tissue around the shin bone or the bone itself.

The above conditions aren’t the only cause of shin splints. Runners experience shin pain for other reasons too. Some of these reasons include:


  • Flat feet
  • Shoes that don’t provide enough arch support
  • Weak ankles, hips, or core muscles
  • Not warming up or cooling down properly


Regardless of what the underlying problem is, the bottom line for anyone who suffers from shin splints is that they’re painful and often interfere with being active.


There Is Some Good News . . .

What’s that, you ask? Well, the good news is that you don’t have to live with the pain forever. First, consult with an ankle and foot specialist in The Woodlands, TX, to determine if you have any of the medical conditions listed above, or if you’re dealing with something entirely different. Sometimes, people misdiagnose their aches and pains. They get online and read articles like this one and think they have all the information they need to diagnose. The truth is that it’s always good to start with a professional consultation and plan your attack against shin splints from there.


So, how do you get rid of shin splints? If it’s determined that you don’t have a fractured bone or other issue, start by resting your body. Sometimes shin splints go away after you’ve warmed the body and been running for a few minutes. However, that’s not always what happens. Many people report shin pain well after running sessions and pain that interferes with walking. This is when you know you need to rest.


While you’re resting your shin, try ice therapy. Ice the affected shin for 20-30 minutes once every 3-4 hours to reduce inflammation and pain. You won’t see the inflammation, but it’s there inside your leg. Do this routine for 2 – 3 days and see if the pain subsides. Also, take anti-inflammatory pain killers for additional pain relief.

As your shins heal, take a trip to the store and buy some insoles or custom-made shoe inserts. Many running stores offer shoe and insole fittings to help you get a better feel and fit when you run.


Signs that Shin Splints Have Healed

After visiting an ankle and foot center in The Woodlands, TX, and treating your shin splints at home, how do you know that they’ve healed? The first sign is that you’re able to run, walk, and jump without pain. Also, you’re able to push on previously painful, tender areas without feeling pain.


Are you concerned about shin splints? If so, contact Ankle & Foot Specialists of Conroe, The Woodlands and speak with a foot specialist in The Woodlands, TX, to schedule an exam.