• The term shin splints refers to a painful condition that develops along the inside (medial edge) of the shin (tibia) that runs along the front of the lower leg.
• The usual location is along the lower half of the tibia, anywhere from a few inches above the ankle to about half-way up the shin.
• This is part of a group of group of injuries called “overuse injuries”, which are most prevalent in runners and athletes who practice strenuous exercise.
• For runners, the repeated running cycle of bouncing on the back of the feet results in muscle fatigue, which may lead to higher forces being applied to the the attachment of fascia (outer covering of muscle) to bone, and finally the bone itself.
What cause Shin Splints?
• As accurately as possible, scientists think that shin splints result from inflammation from injury to the tendon (posterior peroneal tendon) and adjacent tissues in the front of the outer leg.
• Also, a common belief by athletic trainers is that a stiff Achilles tendon and a weak ankle muscle cause an overload of stress on the tibia, causing shin splints.
• In the early stage of shin splints an athlete will describe a pain that is present when the training first begins, but then disappears as it continues.
• Some exercises that are most likely to cause shin splints are: running downhill, running on a slanted or tilted surface, running in worn-out footwear and engaging in sports with frequent starts and stops, such as basketball and tennis.
• As the exercise regime gets tougher, the pain appears during the exercise, but takes longer to subside due to the repeated pressure/stress put on it.
• The more number of times a person has the pain, the less number of times they can exercise without it.
• If the pain evolves from occurring in a general area to occurring in a specific part of the tibia, then a stress fracture may have occurred.
What are the effects of Shin Splints on the anatomy and physiology of the affected area?
• When an athlete has shin splints, the pain that occurs as a symptom stays until the exercise is stopped, and then goes away, but takes longer to subside if he/she continues to pursue that activity.
• If the pain increases in intensity as to completely hinder the athlete from any activity, then one must consult a doctor in order to see the effects on the bone and muscle.
• In some cases, a stress fracture may occur if the pain and pressure build up as to actually break a part of the bone; since the muscle cannot hold the pressure indefinitely, it transfers the pressure to the bone, causing a stress fracture.
How can Shin Splints be diagnosed?
• The diagnosis of shin splints is usually made during examination. For example, one can perform a self-examination by pressing the middle of the tibia, and following it up.
• If one finds a tender zone along the front or side of the tibia, this is an indicator that shin splints might be present.
• If one gets checked by a doctor, then they...