“Shin Splints” is a common term used by health care practitioners in explaining various types of common exercise-related problems in the lower leg area. It is referred to as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome or Lateral Tibial Stress Syndrome among medical circles. In general, the term "shin splints" refers to pain along the shin area but the pain can also be felt anywhere in the region among the knees and the ankles. The signs and symptoms of shin splints characteristically develop after strenuous physical activity affecting the shin area. Though commonly related to walking and running, most dynamic sports can bring forth shin splints and trigger the pain and discomfort. There are several treatments for shin splints, but they might require time depending on the severity of the injury.
Symptoms are commonly defined as a deviation from the usual function or sensation that is noticed by the patient. Such deviations from normalcy might be indicative of the presence of sickness or abnormality. With that being said, shin splints symptoms include pain in the lower leg area particularly in the front, numbness and weakness. The pain may also vary accordingly depending on the actual muscle being affected. The pain and discomfort usually persists during the actual activity itself that is affecting the shin area. Other patients experience constant pain while some experience it after the activity. The numbness and weakness is usually rooted in the compression of blood vessels and nerves.
Visible signs of shin splints include the tenderness of the inner part of the lower leg as well as the swelling of this area. These have been brought about by the injured muscle tissues as well as the tibia.
Shin splints have been directly attributed to congesting the lower leg with one’s body weight. This is due to assorted irregularities in our running biomechanics brought about by various factors. The factors that trigger the signs and symptoms of shin splints include the following:
Continuous exposure of our leg bones, leg muscles, tendons and ligaments to high impact activities will promote wear and tear and could amount to future health problems including shin splints. The frequency of this type of activity is also a contributing factor.
Incorrect Running Technique
These include incorrect position of the foot upon impact to the ground, uneven weight distribution during running or workouts, and improper pacing of one’s workout. Incorrect foot position and uneven weight distribution give undue stress to certain parts of the leg that might trigger shin splints while undue increase in the intensity of one’s training session proves to be an unhealthy practice that can increase the risk of injury as well as promote the development of shin splints and its symptoms.
Having correct footwear is essential to workouts, running, or any other sports activity. There are shoes specifically made for football, tennis, soccer and other sports. These shoes have been designed to tackle specific issues concerning each different activity and are made to provide adequate traction, correct posture, and absorb impact. Using improper shoes can result to incorrect posture and uneven weight distribution thereby introducing stress to the legs that could trigger shin splints’ symptoms.
“Flat Feet” is a minor deformity that very much boosts the risk factor of having shin splints by unevenly distributing pressure in the lower leg area. This can be corrected by using orthotic devices like arch supports.
All of these factors contribute to an increase in the level of stress being exerted in the leg area. This sudden increase in the force or occurrence of activity intensity may exert too much stress and may fatigue the leg muscles too fast to appropriately help take up shock wherein the tibia will be forced to absorb most of this residual shock.
The location of the signs and symptoms of shin splints indicate which part of your leg muscle structure is being affected. When the pain is in the front area of the leg then it is most probable that the patient is suffering from Anterior Shin Splints. The pain exhibits itself rather strongly when the patient lifts his/her toes. In the case of Posterior Shin Splints the pain exhibits itself on the inside edge of the shin bone. In the case of Exertional Compartment Syndrome, pain persists in the outside area of the tibia. The stress reaching the tibia is attributed to be the cause of the onset of shin splints and its symptoms.