- Health

Shin Splints: When Consulting a Podiatrist Becomes Necessary?

Shin Splints | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Shin splint is a troublesome and frustrating condition, especially for those who are super active. Runners, basketball players, soccer players, tennis players, dancers, and almost any type of athlete experience shin splints frequently, irrespective they are beginners or advanced players. Shin splints are even experienced when you are trying to change your workout routine. 


If you are experiencing shin splints repeatedly, it is best if you consult an experienced podiatrist. Podiatrist Irvine has over 20 years of experience in treating individuals with different foot problems and injuries. Besides, Podiatrist in Irvine has satellite offices in Tustin, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo, Laguna Beach, Santa Ana, Laguna Hills, Orange, and other places in Orange County,CA. 


What are shin splints?


Shin Splints, also known as Medial tibial stress syndrome are classified as ‘Overuse Injury’. Small tears in muscle and bone tissues on the shin or the front area of the leg are known as shin splints. At times, muscles even peel off the bone. These are tiny tears, but they cause sharp pain and even swelling. If appropriate care is not taken, discomfort intensifies. 


Mostly, the shin splints go away on their own with time. However, if you are repeatedly experiencing them, consult Irvine Podiatrist to ensure nothing else is wrong. 


What exactly causes Shin Splints?


If you have shin splints, you will suffer from pain, swelling, or tenderness in your lower legs over your shin. There are several causes for this sort of discomfort. Usually, the pain is bearable when you are moving around and intensifies when you rest. 


Following are some of the basic reasons for this painful condition:


  • Participating in high-intensity activities

  • Suddenly changing the intensity or routine of workout

  • Not stretching or cooling down when exercising

  • Having flat feet

  • Having over-pronation

  • Having weak hips or ankles

  • Wearing the wrong type of shoes


Diagnosis and Treatment


When you experience pain in the shins, consult a podiatrist and get the proper evaluation done. Your podiatrist will recommend a few tests, and even ask you to go for an X-ray or MRI if needed. The thing is, these tests are required because conditions like tendonitis, strains, sprains, and even stress fracture are mistaken as shin splints. Rupture of the Achilles Tendon can also pain just like shin splints. 


Once it is determined that the pain is because of shin splints, proper treatment options can be recommended. Usually, conservative methods are employed to treat shin splints. However, in certain cases, medication is recommended to ensure shin splints don’t get turned into a stress fractures. An Orange County Podiatrist can help you prevent a stress fracture. 


In the beginning, your podiatrist will recommend eliminating such physical activities that can worsen the condition. This will give shins the time to heal naturally. Also, the following treatments will be recommended to reduce inflammation and pain:



Cold Compress is ideal for swelling and pain. You can simply use ice for this. 



You can wear orthotics under your shoes to provide extra support to your feet. A podiatrist might even recommend making customized orthotics depending on your condition. 


Pain killers

Anti-inflammatory medicine may be used to treat pain and inflammation. 


Alteration in activities

If you are an athlete, your podiatrist will ask you to alter your routine or continue your existing routine at a slow pace. 


Physical therapies

Physical therapies include stretching and strengthening of muscles. This helps in relieving the pain of shin splints. 


Preventing Shin Splints


Compared to other athletes, runners experience shin splints the most. Fortunately, there are many ways in which preventing shin splints is possible. Some of those ways are:


  1. Building gradually

If you are a beginner, it is best if you take it slow. Take your time to set your routine and don’t start with anything extremely exhausting. For instance, don’t expect to run 5 miles on the very first day. Start with a mile or two max and gradually increase it. 

  1. Maintain a shorter stride

When you first start running, it is best if you run with shorter strides. This will not put extra stress or strain on your shins and lower your chances of experiencing a shin splint. Go for longer strides gradually. 

  1. Get your running technique analyzed

If you are experiencing shin splints very often, alter your running style. There are good chances that your technique is wrong and is thereby causing you pain. A professional coach can help in this regard. 

  1. Wear supportive shoes

Most people will argue that minimalist running shoes are what you need. Well, this isn’t the case for beginners. Running barefoot or with minimalist shoes will increase your risk of experiencing shin splints. 

  1. After a break start with low impact workouts

Many activities don’t put any stress on your shins. If you have been on a break it is best to restart with these exercises. Swimming, brisk walking, and stretching are some low-impact activities you can do. 


If you are suffering from shin splints pain for a long time, it is recommended to consult a podiatrist. There are good chances that it might have advanced to a stress fracture, and thus can cause severe pain and inflammation if left untreated. All in all, if the pain does not go away, contact a podiatrist for treatment. 


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Peter Thompson: Peter, a futurist and tech commentator, writes about emerging technology trends and their potential impacts on society.
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