shin splints

Shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome) is one of a group of overuse injuries to the legs caused by the extraordinary stresses of many sports and endurance fitness running. These include patellofemoral pain syndrome, plantar fasciitis, stress fracture, and iliotibial band syndrome. The patient with shin splints complains of dull aching pain along the mid to distal shin (tibia). There is point tenderness to pressure along the inner (medial) tibia. (Point tenderness along the anterior surface of the shin would raise the possibility of a stress fracture.) Mild shin splints produce pain only with running; severe cases can cause pain even at rest.

The exact cause of shin splints is a subject of some debate. It is generally thought that faulty mechanics of the lower extremity are fundamentally to blame, especially inward rolling of the foot while running (hyperpronation). Treatment is most often directed at correcting the hyperpronation with better running shoe choices, insoles or orthotics, or by muscle strengthening exercises. Some degree of exercise restriction and use of non-steroidal antiinflammatories (NSAIDs) are prescribed as well.

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