3 min read

Running Into Shin Splint Problems?

Anyone who enjoys running as a hobby or form of exercise knows the sharp pain that can happen on the shin. Also called tibial medial stress syndrome, shin splints happen when there is acute pain in the front of the lower leg. The problem can occur at any point between the knee and ankle. Runners, athletes, or people who participate in intense physical activity can get shin splints.

What causes shin splints?

The repetitive stress and force that happens from running can damage the bone. This damage can move onto the muscles and surround tissue that wraps around the shin bone. Persons with flat foot syndrome, who wear inadequate footwear, or fail to warm up can get shin splints. Constant running on hard, uneven surfaces can also create shin splints.

The signs and symptoms of shin splints

During or immediately after running, athletes often feel a dull pain in the lower part of the shin. The problem can progress to the point where there is pain even when walking. The pain usually happens on the inside of the shin. Persons with severe shin splints also experience soreness, numbness, and swelling in the lower leg. A doctor can diagnose a severe shin splint with an examination and X-ray. From there, the doctor can recommend a range of effective treatment options.

Try the RICE method

The RICE method is one of the most common treatment techniques for pain. The patient or person with the shin splint should perform a combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. While resting, elevate the leg and use ice to reduce swelling. Compression bandages can help during rest and physical activity. These steps will improve circulation, reduce swelling, and reduce shin pain. The RICE method works when done consistently. For added relief, use a foam roller to help release tension and improve circulation.

Turning to fasciotomy surgery

Severe shin splints usually resolve with physical treatment, rest, and medication. However, there are some cases where these options aren’t enough. After several months of unresponsive treatment, fasciotomy surgery is the next viable step. The tissue surrounding the calf muscles called fascia is often responsible for the pain. The surgery helps relieve the pressure and tightness, which may relieve pain.

Clearing things up

The surgeon will perform an x-ray or MRI to determine the extent of the damage. If there is fascia damage, surgery can help. Under general anesthesia, the surgeon will make an incision to access the lower leg. Strategic cuts of the fascia will relieve the pressure. From there, the patient will undergo physical therapy to help with recovery.

Stop those severe shin splints swiftly!

Shin splints can restrict movement and affect persons from all walks of life. Luckily, the pain involved can benefit from rest, ice, and compression treatment. There are some cases when this might not be enough. Consider fasciotomy treatment. Speak with a doctor about successful surgery today.