Shin Splints: Pain Affecting Activity

Pain tends to keep people from being active. If your feet and legs hurt when you run or play sports, eventually you stop participating to protect your body. Issues like shin splints are common, but they don’t have to limit your activities and independence if they are treated right.

Impacts on the Lower Limbs

Shin splints are a painful condition that arises when your shin bones are overloaded and overused. Also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, the condition makes it painful to participate in many activities. You develop an aching sensation in the front of your lower legs that tends to increase when you’re active and decrease when you rest. This discomfort may be sharp and burning, or feel slow and dull. It’s often painful to press on the soft tissues next to your shins as well.

This is a fairly common sports injury, particularly for runners and those in other high-impact sports. The repetitive pounding on your feet aggravates the bone and muscles in your shins, causing inflammation. Sports on hard surfaces are particularly problematic for the lower limbs. Typically the problem develops because your feet were not properly conditioned for the activity or some kind of biomechanical imbalance, which over-stresses the front of your legs. Starting a new exercise routine, sharply increasing the intensity of your workouts, and performing frequent stops and starts can also cause an overuse injury.

The shape of your feet and the shoes you wear also play a role in developing shin splints. Unusually flat arches or a rigid mid-foot do not absorb shock well, allowing the force to pass through the lower legs. Shoes that aren’t supportive, cushioned, or properly fit, create a similar problem. No matter what contributed to your condition, you need to have it properly managed to eliminate the pain and allow you to continue your activities.

Relieving Shin Inflammation

Because the symptoms of shin splints are similar to other conditions, you need to have your feet thoroughly examined to accurately diagnose your condition. The expert podiatrists at Country Foot Care will carefully evaluate your lower limbs to identify the specific problem and any contributing factors to your leg pain. Our staff will use a variety of tests including diagnostic images to rule out stress fractures as a possible cause.

Rest is one of the most important factors in your recovery from shin splints. Since this is an overuse problem, you need to scale back your activities to allow the inflamed tissues a chance to heal. Icing your shins helps decrease the irritation and swelling in the damaged tissues. Wrapping your shins in flexible compression bandages may help with swelling as well. Stretching out your shins along with your calves before and after activity may also help manage any tightened tissues.

You may need to change or replace your shoes to better support your feet. Worn out shoes can change your foot position and contribute to painful problems, so replace them when needed. Choose footwear models that stabilize and protect your feet well. When the doctors at Country Foot Care discover a biomechanical imbalance, custom orthotics can better balance and support your feet and legs as well as provide shock absorption that helps eliminate pain.

The pain of shin splints can keep you from enjoying the sports and activities you love, but intervening early can help head off the problem before it interrupts your routines. If you’re struggling with any lower limb discomfort, contact Country Foot Care at either of our locations during regular office hours to make an appointment. Alternatively, for those who prefer to make an appointment online, the MAKE AN APPOINTMENT button at the top of this page will take you to our secure online form.