Shin Splints

Symptoms: Pain and tenderness along the inside of the shin bones may indicate shin splits. Often symptoms come on with activity, then ease as activity continues, but return after activity ends. Occasionally bumps, swelling or warmth can be felt along the shin bone.
Causes: This is often a sports-related injury caused by stretching of muscle attachments along the shin bone during weight-bearing activities. A very flat foot can increase this traction force. Over-striding or forcible striking of the heel during walking, running or marching are also frequent causes. This explains why shin splints are common in the military.
Relief: Rest from the aggravating activity is the first priority. If this problem is not appropriately managed, it may develop into a stress fracture. Localized massage can release muscle tightness. Exercises include calf stretching to reduce resistance and strengthening of the stressed muscle groups to help absorb force. Ultrasound and ice can ease inflammation. For those people with a very flat foot, taping and orthotic inserts may help. A graduated return to sport needs to be supervised by the therapist.


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