Shin Splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) can be summed up as a condition that is caused by doing TOO MUCH, TOO SOON…
This type of injury is most commonly seen in runners, dancers and also in sports with sudden starts and stops such as squash, basketball and tennis.
These activities place a considerable amount of pressure on the legs, especially if performed on hard surfaces and may cause injury to the bone and surrounding tissues.
This condition more often presents in beginner runners who tend to over exert themselves through their excitement for getting fit and healthy, which ends in pain and a dislike for running all together. With gradual progressive training, this can be avoided and the sport enjoyed.
Seasoned runners may also be at risk of shin splints if they abruptly change their training routine from running on flat surfaces to hill running or greatly increase their mileage.
Shin splint pain concentrates in the lower leg between the knee and the ankle.
The pain is usually a dull ache on the front side of the lower leg (anterior shin splints) or on the inside part of the lower leg (medial shin splints).
Pain usually develops during exercise and one should never push through the pain as this can cause more permanent damage.
As the injury progresses, pain starts to occur with less activity and can be at its most painful when you try to lift your foot up with force at the ankle and flex your foot toward your knee.
Two simple tests to determine if you have medial tibial stress syndrome
If you are suffering with pain in the front of your shins, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have shin splints, there may be another medical complication.
Here are 2 other conditions that may be mistakenly diagnosed for shin splints…
Although not a single cause of shin splints has been identified and there is no definite consensus as to whether it is an inflammation of the muscle, tiny tears in the muscle that have pulled off the tibia or an inflammation of the periosteum, the medical sporting experts have agreed on how to treat them though.
When shin splints occur, experts have agreed for athletes to stop running all together and to rest to prevent any further injury or to significantly decrease your activity depending on when the pain starts while you exercise or run.
If you’re a keen athlete, this advice SUCKS because who wants to stop training for that big event or to reach your fitness goals or stop doing the exercise you love!
As much as it sucks, you’ve got to RESPECT your body and give it a chance to heal itself (it’s an amazing machine and does this pretty well, if you let it).
You can still keep your mind and body strong and healthy by doing low impact exercises that will not put as much strain on your legs. Cross-training will also help improve your overall performance. Cycling, swimming, yoga, rowing are just a few to choose from.
When shin splints strike…
Once your body has healed itself and it’s time to return back to running or your sporting activity…