Shin splints are a common problem during the early stages of an exercise program, which can affect people of all fitness levels, and lead to serious injury if left untreated.
Typically, shin splints begin as an ache along your shinbone following exercise, which gradually progresses until you experience pain throughout exercise as well. The pain will be exacerbated by high impact activities like running and jumping, and may be accompanied by palpable, tender lumps along the shin, indicating areas of inflammation.
Shin splints often result from doing ‘too much, too soon’, and failing to allow your muscles and bones recuperate to recuperate between sessions. Other predisposing factors include:
abnormal foot alignment – if your feet roll in (pronate) or roll out (supinate) excessively, the muscles in your legs become overworked, causing inflammation at their attachment to the shin bone;
excessively tight calf muscles;
worn-out footwear – the tread on your shoes may look fine, but running shoes lose 30 to 40 per cent of their shock absorbing capabilities after 800km;
hard training surfaces, like cement or bitumen.
If left untreated, shin splints can result in a fracture of the shinbone. However, if you see your podiatrist as soon as possible, conservative treatment, incorporating exercises and prescription orthotics and footwear, has a high success rate.
Prescription orthotics can be integral to the treatment of shin splints, because they correct any abnormalities in foot alignment, thus removing a major cause of inflammation.
If you think you may have shin splints, or suffer from any kind of shin pain while exercising, contact us.