Shin splints are the occurrence of pain at the front edge of the shin. The symptoms appear mainly after sporting activities.
What is shin splints?
In medicine, shin splints are also known as tibial splints or shin-splint syndrome. What is meant by this is a chronic pain syndrome that occurs mainly after physical activity such as intensive jogging. The same applies to all types of sports that place greater stress on the muscles of the shinbone. The often slow healing process is considered problematic. See deluxesurveillance for Carcinoma Guide.
Shin splints are usually caused by intensive running training, long hikes and sports such as long jump or high jump. In principle, however, any type of sport that leads to intensive movements can trigger a shin-splint syndrome. Skateboarding is one of them.
In athletes, shin splints is one of the most common sports-related complaints and ranks third. The causes of the pain are considered to be changing the floor coverings in spring and autumn, technical changes when running at speed within interval training, and pronounced marathon training.
Likewise, the sudden increase in running speed or training volume can be responsible for the occurrence of shin splints. Another conceivable trigger is wearing the wrong shoes. However, the most common cause of shin splints is constant jumping and landing.
Also particularly affected are athletes who have increased pronation, rotate their foot outwards, and use spikes. In addition to athletes, dancers and soldiers often suffer from the pain syndrome.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Shin splints become noticeable through the sudden onset of severe pain at the edge of the shin. If the load is reduced, the pain goes back. If the load increases again, the affected athlete immediately feels pain again.
Physicians distinguish between two forms of shin splints. There is medial and lateral tibial splints: In medial shin splints, the pain occurs in the lower section of the shin splints. The lateral form, on the other hand, is found in the upper shin edge area.
The pain is felt as either stabbing or dull. While they initially only show up when moving, they can also occur at rest as the disease progresses. Due to the strong pressure on the affected areas, the skin is sometimes very elastic. Pain is also possible due to skin tension.
Some patients also experience sensory disturbances in the tense skin areas. In some cases, the strong pressure affects the muscles, which in turn limits certain muscle movements. Occasionally, necrosis also forms in the affected muscle areas. This can lead to other symptoms such as fatigue and high fever. In the worst case, life-threatening sepsis (blood poisoning) sets in.
Diagnosis & course of disease
If there is a suspicion of shin splints, the doctor treating you first has a detailed discussion with the patient. He asks what kind of stress causes the symptoms and whether they have appeared on previous occasions. The amount of time the patient walks and whether there are previous thromboembolic diseases also play an important role.
After the anamnesis, a physical examination takes place. There is usually a swelling along the edge of the shin. If the doctor puts pressure on the swelling, there will be severe pain. In addition, the doctor uses imaging examination methods such as taking x-rays.
In this way, stress fractures or inflammation of the periosteum can be determined. Magnetic resonance imaging or scintigraphy can also be performed. These procedures are primarily used when a stress fracture is suspected.
Differential diagnoses are also important in order to rule out other diseases that can cause symptoms of this type. These are compartment syndrome, peripheral arterial disease of the lower limbs, and venous outflow disorders.
The course of shin splints varies greatly from patient to patient. While for some sufferers the symptoms only last a few hours, others suffer from them for several weeks. If the shin is not rested, the pain will continue to increase in intensity and the disease will last longer.
In this syndrome, those affected primarily suffer from very severe pain. The pain mainly occurs in the shinbone, so that there can also be restrictions in the movement and thus in the everyday life of the person concerned. The pain usually occurs when you exert yourself. However, they can also occur in the form of rest pain and also lead to complaints at night.
Many patients also suffer from insomnia or mental disorders. Paralysis or other sensory disorders can also occur as a result of shin splints and continue to make everyday life difficult for those affected. Necrosis develops and those affected often appear tired and exhausted. Furthermore, shin splints can also lead to blood poisoning, which in the worst case can lead to the death of the person concerned.
The syndrome can also lead to a strong fever. This syndrome can usually be treated with medication. There are no complications. However, many sufferers also rely on various exercises to restore mobility. The patient’s life expectancy is also not negatively affected by the syndrome.
When should you go to the doctor?
Shin splints usually require a visit to a doctor. It cannot heal itself, so the disease must always be examined and treated by a doctor. This is the only way to prevent further complications and complaints. A doctor should be consulted if the person concerned suffers from very severe pain in the shinbone.
The pain can occur in the form of stress pain or pain at rest and have a very negative effect on the quality of life of those affected. Stabbing pain in particular indicates shin splints and should be examined by a doctor if it occurs over a longer period of time.
Furthermore, high fever or severe exhaustion also indicate shin splints if the symptoms persist for a longer period of time. If the shin splints are not treated, it can lead to blood poisoning in the worst case. Shin splints are diagnosed and treated by an orthopedist. In emergencies or in the event of acute pain after an accident, the hospital can also be visited or an ambulance can be called directly. The life expectancy of those affected is usually not reduced by this disease.
Treatment & Therapy
Shin splints are usually treated conservatively. The main focus is on protecting the leg. If further training is required, it must be limited to exercises that do not put stress on the shin. These include cycling and swimming.
In the case of acute tibial edge syndrome, the patient can apply ointment bandages with analgesic agents. Another option is to take painkillers. If these treatments do not lead to an improvement, a cortisone solution can be injected into the affected areas. Physiotherapeutic exercises are also considered helpful. If the symptoms persist despite conservative therapy measures, surgical intervention can be useful.
The surgeon splits the fascia of the muscle to reduce pressure. Minimally invasive endoscopic procedures are increasingly being used for this purpose instead of open procedures. The chances of success of the operation are assessed as positive. More than 60 percent of all patients no longer felt any symptoms after the procedure. After about four weeks, the patient can do sports again.
To prevent shin splints, preventive measures are possible. The athlete should not increase the volume of his training by more than ten percent during the week. In this way, he gives his tendons and muscles enough time to prepare for the new loads. Appropriate running shoes are also important.
Those affected should urgently wear shin guards when performing any sport. This can offer sufficient protection against complications in the event of accidents and unwanted external influences. If the sufferer notices pain or other complications, a break should be taken immediately. In such a case, the affected shin must be sufficiently protected.
Affected people should generally take it easy and rest a lot so that an improvement can occur quickly. All activities that are carried out should therefore urgently be adapted to the disease. This also applies to work. If a job is practiced that puts a lot of strain on the shinbone, sufferers should consider changing this job.
Physiotherapy should also be sought. There, those affected can learn how to avoid incorrect posture so that no additional strain is placed on the tibia. The shoes of those affected must also be adapted to the disease. The size of the shoes must be adapted to the foot and the shoes should have no or only limited heels.
Sufferers should consider putting insoles in their shoes. This can lead to rapid relief of the symptoms. Those affected should also make sure that they prevent one-sided strain on the body, as this can also lead to a worsening of the symptoms.
You can do that yourself
Adequate shin protection should be worn when engaging in sporting activities. This helps against unwanted external influences, cushions any accidents and can protect against heavy loads. If the first disturbances or impairments occur, periods of rest should be taken and the body should be given enough rest. A period of regeneration is required for symptoms to be relieved and for improvement to occur.
In principle, the performance of physical activities must be tailored to the needs of the person concerned and his or her organism. Overload situations should be avoided. In everyday life, physiotherapeutic exercises can be carried out independently so that there is no incorrect strain or incorrect posture. The footwear worn must be checked and, if necessary, optimized. The heels should not be too high and the shoe should be appropriate for the size of the foot.
In some cases, the symptoms are already alleviated when insoles are worn. It is also necessary to check which floor covering the affected person moves on most of the time. A surface that is too hard, for example, can trigger an increase in physical irregularities when running. In the context of self-help, it is important to ensure that one-sided physical strain is avoided. These can have a negative impact on the skeletal system or the muscles.