Shin splints refers to pain along the shins, or the front of the leg between the knee and ankle. The pain is typically worse along the lower one-third of the leg. The muscle in this area controls upward movement of the foot, and the pain is caused by overuse and strain of this muscle. The most common cause of shin splints is athletic activity that involves running.
Shin splints are diagnosed on the basis of the typical area involved and the type of movement that increases the pain.
The treatment of shin splints primarily involves rest. Medications can also be used to help control pain and inflammation. Activities may need to be modified to prevent shin splints from recurring. Shoegear recommendations as well as custom orthotics are often helpful for long term reduction in pain. Ultrasound & phonophoresis therapy can reduce inflammation and promote healing.
· Shockwave therapy is now available at our office. High intensity sound waves target the lower leg and accelerate healing. This treatment does not involve any incisions and has been shown to be effective in over 80% of patients. Patients can resume their normal activities after the treatment.
Shin splints may become more severe and cause pain with normal walking. Progressive damage to involved muscle can occur, especially if there is swelling. Damage to the bone to which the muscle is attached, a stress fracture, can also occur.