Saying Goodbye to Shin Splints

Shin splints are a condition that may send a shiver down the spines of Arizona’s athletes. Runners, dancers, soccer players… just about every kind of athlete can develop this condition! Shin splints, also called medial tibial stress syndrome, develop after repeatedly putting pressure on the lower legs. This can occur during a strenuous workout or when the exercise stops and starts abruptly.

Saying goodbye to shin splints is important because it can keep athletes in their respective sports longer. More importantly, people should treat shin splints as soon as possible to avoid the risk of developing microfractures or stress fractures.

In order to prevent this condition, the orthopedic sports medicine physicians at Arizona Bone and Joint Specialists say it’s important for people to learn whether they’re at risk of developing shin splints in the first place. Those who are more likely to develop shin splints may include people with abnormally flat or arched feet; athletes whose legs cave in while running, and people who are not conditioned to perform the level of exercise they are doing. However, taking preventative measures like wearing shock-absorbing shoes, being fully conditioned, and warming-up can reduce the risk of developing shin splints, even for people who are increasingly susceptible to the condition.

Recovering from shin splints may take several weeks, but following a physician’s instructions closely should help patients get back in the game quicker. A physician may first recommend resting and staying off the leg as much as possible. The patient may want to take over-the-counter pain medications and ice the area to stay comfortable. A sports medicine expert may also recommend compression stockings and elevating the leg.

At Arizona Bone and Joint Specialists, we understand how vital training is to a healthy lifestyle. While we recommend rest to avoid further injury, some patients may be able to stay active by participating in low-impact activities like swimming or light cardio. However, patients should check with a physician before continuing low-impact training.

Surgery is not a common treatment option because many patients respond to conservative treatment options. However, it may be necessary for our expert orthopedic surgeons to perform a procedure to open the fascia muscle or repair fractures. 

Arizona Bone and Joint Specialists is located in North Scottsdale, the Thompson Peak area, and North Phoenix, Arizona and have convenient onsite services including physical therapy and imaging. For more information, make an appointment by calling the Scottsdale office at 602-493-9361 or the Phoenix office at 602-863-2040.

The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.