Shin Splints: Fast Facts


What are shin splints? Let us educate you:

*The term “shin splints” is used loosely to refer to pain in the shin area.

*Shin splints usually involve inflammation stemming from repetitive overuse injuries to the muscles and connective tissue surrounding the shinbone.

*“Repetitive overuse injury” means you keep wiping your shin muscles out each time you exercise which causes constant inflammation.

*As a result, the pain just ends up following you around and getting worse because you never get a chance to heal.

*Any activity that stresses the lower legs is one that can cause or perpetuate shin splints.

*Examples of higher risk activities are running, dancing, basketball, gymnastics, or just jumping off of a bunch of stuff (parkour).

*Shin splints may also be caused by suddenly increasing the intensity, amount, or type of physical activity that you put your body through.

*Treating shin splints involves healing the current injury through rest, ice, bodywork, and stretching, followed by slowly increasing the intensity and duration of your athletic activity over the course of several weeks.

*Preventing shin splints involves addressing the factors that caused the problem in the first place which may include the type, frequency, amount and conditions of the exercise, as well as the your body mechanics, footwear, flexibility, and general body maintenance.

What Is The Pain Like?

The pain can range from dull to sharp.  It can be located on either side of the shinbone (tibia), or it can feel like the pain originates from the shinbone itself.

It is worth noting that the pain is often more intense at the beginning of an activity, after which it may go down during the activity only to bounce back worse afterwards.  This leads people to believe that you can “run through the pain,” which you can in the short term. The issue becomes that you just don’t heal, so the condition worsens over time. It’s a myth that you can heal an overuse injury by “running through the pain.”  Eventually, you have to back off, and the longer and harder you pushed, the longer and more absolute your recovery time.

Want more tips for shin splints? Read this post by Mimi on options for prevention and treatment.

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