Shin Splints — the Gift That Keeps on Giving, Every Stride

If you exercise regularly, especially if you’re a runner or haven’t been doing much exercise for awhile, you’ve had shin splints. They seem like such a minor condition, but they can be pretty painful, and they’ll force you to curtail your exercise regimen a.s.a.p. Plus, getting them to go away can take months. What gives?

At the Orthopaedic Center, we’re about keeping you out of our offices more than in them, so here is some info on shin splints — their causes, treatments, and ways to hopefully prevent them from reoccurring in the future.

Causes of shin splints

  • Weakness in stabilizing muscles of the hips or core
  • Stress fractures, tiny breaks in the lower leg bones
  • Irritated and swollen muscles, often from overuse
  • Overpronation, commonly known as “flat feet,” where the impact of every step make your foot’s arch collapse

Ask any dancer and they have had shin splints at one time or another. Runners are always prone to them, but especially when they switch their usual running surface, say from grass and dirt trails to pavement.

Treatments

At the Orthopaedic Center, we’ve seen our share of shin splints. We can diagnose yours and develop a treatment plan. Like back injuries, shin splints can heal on their own, but you may need an x-ray or bone scan if minute bone fractures are involved.

Here are some other ways to deal with shin splints:

  • Rest. You’ll need to stop running or whatever exercise caused the problem.
  • Ice your shins to ease the pain and swelling. You’ll want to do it for 20-30 minutes every three to four hours until the pain is gone, probably at least two days.
  • Take anti-inflammatories. Things like ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin can help with the pain and lessen the swelling.
  • Range-of-motion exercises. Do different exercises to increase range of motion. We can give you a list.
  • Use a neoprene sleeve. This will support and warm your leg.
  • Orthotics. If you have flat feet, this is a must to avoid perennial shin splints.

If you’re suffering from shin splints that don’t seem to be getting better, make an appointment with any of our four Tulsa area offices. Don’t let shin splints ruin a whole season. Call us at 918-582-6800.

Posted in: Spine Conditions

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