Shin splints refers to pain along the shins, or the front of the leg between the knee and ankle. The pain is typically worse along the lower one-third of the leg. The muscle (Tibialis Anterior) in this area controls upward movement of the foot, and the pain is caused by overuse and strain of this muscle. At Camden Foot Clinic we treat a lot of competitive and social runners. This muscle (in red) travels down to insert near the arch of the foot. Any condition that involves excessive pronation or pronation at the wrong time during the gait cycle will impact on how this muscle is used and if use is compounded by vigourous activity the problem rapidly worsens. The most common cause of shin splints is athletic activity involving running.
Shin splints are diagnosed on the basis of the typical area involved and the type of movement that increases the pain.
The treatment of shin splints may involve rest or decrease of activity. Medications can also be used to help control pain and inflammation. Activities may need to be modified to prevent shin splints from recurring. Generally with our patients at Camden Foot Clinic, we find that if we control the pronation and supination in the foot, the problem resolves.
Shin splints may become more severe and cause pain with normal walking and sporting activites cannot be resumed.