Orthopedic Associates' Blog


Orthopedic Associates' Blog

Common Causes of Shin Splints and How to Treat Them
Common Causes of Shin Splints and How to Treat Them

Dr. Ryan Pitts

If you’ve ever suffered from shin splints, then you know how painful and annoying they can be. Shin splints are often characterized by noticeable swelling in your lower leg accompanied by sharp pain on the inside portion of your shin. The medical term for this condition is medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). (Mayo Clinic)

Shin splints are typically caused by moderate to heavy periods of strenuous exercise, such as dancing, soccer, running, and weightlifting. People who have rigid arches or flatter feet are also more susceptible to developing shin splints. The actual cause of shin splints is the forceful stop-start motion placed on the shin bone and surrounding tissues. The force irritates the muscles connected to the shin bone, resulting in inflammation and pain.

Diagnosis of skin splints

A typical orthopedic specialist will be able to diagnose shin splints through a simple physical exam of the injured area. Additional X-rays and scans may be performed to determine if there are any bone microfractures in the surrounding area. Shin splints may not be the cause of your shin pain, which is why your doctor may request an X-ray or scan to confirm the diagnosis.

How to treat shin splints

The best treatment for shin splints often begins with a period of rest. If you developed shin splints from playing a particular sport, your doctor may recommend taking at least two weeks away from the sport. This will allow your shins the appropriate amount of time to heal and recover. An over-the-counter pain medication and ice compresses may help alleviate some of the swelling and pain.

Avoiding shin splints

You may be able to avoid developing shin splints by wearing appropriately fitted shoes, stretching before exercising, and gradually increasing exercise intensity. Calf exercises can help strengthen your lower leg muscles to absorb some of the force caused by stop-start athletic activity. If you find your shin splints returning, ease back on the exercise most likely to be causing the reaction. It’s best to adjust your exercise routine instead of fighting through the pain and developing a more serious condition.

You don’t have to live with the constant pain of shin splints. Our board-certified podiatrist at Orthopedic Associates is one of St. Louis’ finest at treating shin splints. We can help you find the right treatment plan to recover and help prevent shin splints in the future. Click here to schedule an appointment with Orthopedic Associates.


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Avatar  David Malson 7 months ago

great information thank you

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