Understanding Shin Splints

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Regular exercise is a critical component to a healthy lifestyle, but improper or excessive exercise can cause nagging injuries that can sideline an individual. One commonly occurring injury for runners and other athletes is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), also called shin splints…

Introduction

Understanding Shin Splints

There are several causes and some disagreement over treatment methods. Understanding the root of the injury and the need for thorough healing should prevent shin splints from becoming a chronic injury.

MTSS is caused by miniscule separations of the calf muscle where it connects to the posteromedial tibia, or shinbone. It can also be caused by inflammation of the posterior tbialis muscle, directly below the calf muscle1. Running, aerobic exercise, and excessive walking are the most common causes of MTSS. Congenital conditions such as flat-footedness and being bow-legged can also cause this injury. For the conditioned athlete such as a runner or dancer, MTSS is likely the result of a repetitive motion over a continued period of time, or increasing the intensity of exercise. For novices, it is likely the result of an over-ambitious workout. Exercising such with worn or ill-fitting shoes can also be a cause.

If an athlete is afflicted with shin splints the most common treatment is rest and refrain from excessive running or walking. While there is a myth that continued running will ease the pain of shin splints, trainer Jim Thornton explains that continued activity will not allow the loosened muscle to heal properly.According to Dr. Steven Below, The proper treatment regimen should be refraining from all leg exercise to relieve the pain. For the first week after the pain subsides, for example, substitute running with riding a bicycle or other less stressful contact exercise. ...
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