What's Causing Your Shin Pain?
You may enjoy the exhilarating experience of running, which releases endorphins known as the “feel-good hormone.” However, that “feel-good” experience can take an unexpected turn for the worst when an injury occurs. Some of the common injuries that occur in runners are shin pain and shin splints.
At Paspa Physical Therapy, we specialize in several exercises and sports-related injuries, including shin splints. We are located in Manhattan, New York, and our facilities include a full gym and private treatment rooms to provide you with the ideal environment for treatment and training. Learn about your shin pain and what we can do for you.
What Are Shin Splints?
Shin splints refer to the inflammation, tenderness, or soreness just behind or along the large bone in the lower leg called the shin bone or tibia. Shin splints are also known as “medial tibial stress syndrome.”
What Are the Symptoms of Shin Splints?
Some common symptoms associated with shin splints are listed below.
- Muscle pain
- Pain in the shin that is exacerbated with exercise
- Weakness and numbness in your feet
What Are the Risk Factors for Shin Splints?
You may wonder about the risks of developing shin splints. The following list describes some of the different contributing factors resulting in shin splints.
- Poor body flexibility
- Weakness in your thigh and gluteal muscles
- Abnormalities in your anatomy such as flat feet or rigid arches
- Running downhill
- Walking extreme distances
- Wearing improper footwear when running
- Running on uneven terrain
- High-impact sports or exercise
The Causes of Shin Pain
The cause of shin pain can be repetitive strain or stress on the shinbone and its surrounding muscles and stress on connective tissues in the lower leg.
Shin soreness can feel worse at night because that is when your body usually starts to experience the effects of the day’s activities. The aching that occurs in the shin at night can also be caused by a lack of movement or holding a position for an extended period, triggering muscle cramps.
Shin aches that occur when walking can be caused by existing shin splints that can be made worse with excessive walking or overloading when carrying heavy objects.
Another possible cause of soreness in your shins while walking can be the result of a stress fracture or another condition called compartment syndrome. Stress fractures in the shin bone affect the bone tissue, whereas compartment syndrome causes swelling or bleeding in the muscle, which can cause soreness while walking.
How Can You Prevent Shin Splints?
Shin splints are a common injury experienced by runners, dancers, military recruits, and other athletes. Unfortunately, this type of injury is not always avoidable. There are, however, practical steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of shin splints developing or at least reduce stress when shin splints occur.
Some of the preventative measures that can be taken to avoid shin pain from shin splints are listed below.
- Warm up and stretch your muscles before exercising.
- Wear proper running shoes or supportive shoes for training.
- Avoid running on hard surfaces.
- Get sufficient rest between workouts.
- Increase exercise intensity gradually.
How Can You Treat Shin Splints?
In most situations, shin splints are minor and can be treated by taking basic self-care measures. For example, you can use cold compresses, pain relievers, or elastic compression bandages to ease the aches in your shins. Stretching the leg muscles is also important, especially the calf.
The other essential step you can take to treat shin aches is to rest until your body is fully healed.
When to See a Health Professional for Shin Splints
You may need to see a health professional to have your shin splints diagnosed if you experience swelling, redness, or severe aching in your lower legs.
Your doctor can diagnose shin splints during a physical examination. Some tests that can be conducted include imaging tests such as a bone scan, x-ray, or MRI to detect stress reactions or bone fractures in the shin bones.
How Can a Physical Therapist Help With Shin Splints?
At Paspa PT, our physical therapists can assess how your shin splints develop and provide you with hands-on therapy and training to address these causes. In addition, a customized treatment plan and exercise routine can be designed to aid in recovery and help you prevent re-injury.
In conclusion, shin splint pain can be a minor injury and can be treated at home through self-care and plenty of rest.
There are preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the chances of experiencing a shin injury. So, if you experience severe pain and swelling, it would be best to seek professional assistance to avoid an increase in stress fractures which could result in a serious medical condition.
Contact us at Paspa PT, located in Manhattan, New York, for a customized treatment and training plan.