- Shin splints are a type of "overuse injury" to the legs.
- The pain is characteristic and located on the outer edge of the mid region of the leg next to the shinbone (tibia). It can be extreme and halt workouts.
- The diagnosis requires a careful focused examination.
- A multifaceted approach of "relative rest" can restore a pain-free level of activity and a return to competition.
- The relative rest approach includes a change in the workout, ice, rest, anti-inflammatory medications, stretching exercises, possible change in footwear, and gradual increase in running activities.
Shin splints are injuries to the front of the outer leg. While the exact injury is not known, shin splints seem to result from inflammation due to injury of the soft tissues in the front of the outer leg.
Shin splints are a member of a group of injuries called overuse injuries. Shin splints occur most commonly in runners or aggressive walkers.
Risk factors for shin splints include running and over-training on hills, inadequate footwear for athletic activity, and poor biomechanics of the design of the legs and feet.
Shin splints cause pain in the front of the outer leg below the knee. The pain of shin splints is characteristically located on the outer edge of the mid region of the leg next to the shinbone (tibia). An area of discomfort measuring 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) in length is frequently present. Pain is often noted at the early portion of the workout, then lessens, only to reappear near the end of the training session. Shin splint discomfort is often described as dull at first. However, with continuing trauma, the pain can become so extreme as to cause the athlete to stop workouts altogether.