Shin splints are defined as damage to one or more areas along the shinbone that causes pain. One of the most common sports injuries, they are often associated with runners or any athlete who has repetitive strain on the muscles in this area. As the tendons around the tibia, or shinbone, become inflamed, they can cause pain. This pain usually occurs on the inside of the shin. Shin splints account for approximately 17% of all running injuries.
While this injury can happen to anyone, it tends to occur nearly twice as often in women. This is thought to be because women have lower bone mass density and can injure themselves more easily. People who have flat feet are also especially prone to this condition because of the added shock they put on the bones with each step while running or changing direction. While treatment of shin splints typically requires rest and ice, without seeing a doctor, the condition can worsen and lead to more severe injuries. Shin splints need to be differentiated from stress fractures or other conditions by an orthopaedic surgeon.
Anatomy of the Shin
The shin is the lower part of the leg, between the knee and the ankle. It consists of the following:
Types of Shin Splints
Shin splints are typically divided up into two main types of injury:
Causes of Shin Splints
There are a few causes of shin splints:
Symptoms of Shin Splints
Symptoms of shin splits always include some level of pain due to the number of nerve endings in and around the muscles that connect to the bone.
The following are common shin splint symptoms. Depending on the way in which this injury was incurred and how physically strong a person is, symptoms can vary:
Shin splint symptoms occur because the muscles around the shinbone become inflamed. While this injury is minor and can be treated easily, without treatment or the help of an orthopaedic surgeon, it can lead to more significant injuries down the road, such as muscles detaching or stress fractures.
The multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic experts at North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute's Trauma Services in New York treats Shin Splints as well as a broad range of conditions that affect the bones within the body.