Shin splints are very simply lower leg pain which happens below the knee either on the front or the inside of your leg. This is a problem faced by many athletes, tennis players, dancers, and runners. Putting too much pressure on the legs can result in shin splints. If a beginner runner suddenly adds too much mileage instead of gradually building the mileage, then he or she may experience shin splints. It may also happen if the running surface has suddenly changed.
Even sports scientists are of different views on shin splints. There are different theories available. It may be small tears in the muscle that pulled off the bone, an inflammation of the muscle, an inflammation of the periosteum or combination of all of these. Even though it is more common in runners because of the stress they put on the feet, however, it can happen to anyone because of different factors.
Symptoms of shin splints
If you have pain in the shin, however, it does not always mean you are suffering from shin splints. There are certain symptoms and signs which will help you to identify this problem. The following two conditions are sometimes stricken newly diagnosed as shin splints even though they are not.
Pain on the outside part of the lower leg does not only mean shin splints. It can also be compartment syndrome. In this problem, a swelling of muscles is seen in a specific area which will cause pressure. Doctors will diagnose this condition by using some special techniques and sometimes surgical decompression may be necessary to get rid of such medical problems. The symptoms associated with this syndrome are leg pain, muscle weakness, unusual nerve sensations etc.
Sometimes pain in the lower leg happens because of a stress fracture, which means an incomplete crack in the bone. This is a serious health issue. The doctor will diagnose this with the help of a bone scan.
The pain resulting from shin splints is more generalized in comparison to a stress fracture. In case of a stress fracture, you will find a definite spot of sharp pain. If you are suffering from a stress fracture, you will feel better in the morning as the bone has rested overnight. On the other hand, shin splints generally feel worse in the morning as the soft tissues tighten overnight. If you’re suffering from shin splints and you try to forcibly lift your foot up at the ankle or flex the foot, then it will be very painful for you.
Causes of shin splints
There may be different causes of shin splints. Overpronation is a very common cause of medical shin splints. It may also happen due to inadequate stretching, excessive stress on the legs or its, worn shoes and other similar causes. You should be very careful while running because running on cambered roads and problem with your running condition can also result in shin splints. In most of the cases, this problem is seen on one leg and that is the dominant leg. People who are right-handed, they are also generally right-footed and the problem is seen on the right foot. In most of the cases, this problem is seen in the medial area or the inside of the shin. If it is an anterior shin splint, the problem will be seen towards the outside of the leg. Anterior shin splints is generally seen due to an imbalance between the muscles in the front of your leg at the calf muscles.