Many athletes get shin splints at one time or another. Whether you jog daily or just had to sprint to catch a bus one day, you may have shin splints when you feel throbbing and aching in your shins. While they often heal on their own, severe shin splints can ruin your game.
Shin splints aren't really a single medical condition. Instead, they're just a symptom of an underlying problem. They might be caused by:
Shin splints cause dull, aching pain in the front of the lower leg. Some people feel it only during exercise; others, when they've stopped exercising. Sometimes, the pain is constant.
Depending on the exact cause, the pain may be located along the side of the shinbone or in the muscles. The area may be painful to the touch. Swollen muscles can sometimes irritate the nerves in the feet, causing them to feel weak or numb.
To diagnose shin splints, your doctor will give you a thorough physical exam. He or she may want to see you run to look for problems. You may also need X-rays or bone scans to look for fractures. Other tests are sometimes necessary.
Although shin splints may be caused by different problems, treatment is usually the same: Rest your body so the underlying issue heals. Here are some other things to try:
In rare cases, surgery is needed for severe stress fractures and other problems that can cause shin splints.
To prevent shin splints, you should: