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Shin Splints: What they are and How to Treat them

As the name suggests, shin splints are characterized by pain along the shin, often due to repetitive exercise like running or dancing. The shinbone or tibia is the large bone that runs along the front of the lower leg. The condition involves the bone, as well as surrounding muscles, tendons and tissue. Shin splints is actually a collective term for a grouping of conditions and proper diagnosis is essential to ensure treatment targets the specific problem.

Causes of Shin Splints

The most common cause of shin splints is persistent stress on the tibia and surrounding muscles and tissue. This stress can be due to any of the following:

  • Wearing shoes without proper support during exercise
  • Arch problems (flat feet or high, rigid arches)
  • Increasing exercise intensity too quickly
  • Regularly exercising on hard surfaces like concrete

Symptoms of Shin Splints

Symptoms of shin splints might include:

  • Pain across the front of the lower leg
  • Pain may be sharp and stabbing or dull and throbbing
  • Pain is usually worse at the beginning of the activity
  • Painful area may be sore to the touch
  • Mild swelling of the lower leg can also occur

Treatment for Shin Splints

It is important to rest the painful leg and allow it to heal before treatment is administered. Once the pain has subsided, In Motion O.C. recommends the following exercises for strengthening the leg and avoiding shin splints in the future:

  • Toe and heel walking
  • Calf stretch
  • Single leg balance
  • Windshield wipers

You can see demonstrations of all of these exercises on In Motion’s video found at YouTube. To learn more about shin splints, or to schedule an evaluation of your condition, contact In Motion O.C. at 949-861-8600.

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