Shin Splints: Myths and Facts

Shin pain is a common complaint among athletes, runners, and even sedentary individuals. While most people can point to their shins, understanding the intricacies of shin pain often remains elusive.

Misconceptions and myths about shin pain can lead to misdiagnosis, improper treatment, and prolonged discomfort. In this brief article brought to you by Mountain Spring Podiatry, we will review and debunk some prevalent myths about shin pain. We hope this information helps you better manage and prevent this condition.

For accurate diagnoses and proper treatment, consider consulting with a licensed podiatrist. These are doctors who specialize in feet, ankles, and lower legs. To schedule an appointment, call Mountain Spring Podiatry.

Myth 1: Shin Pain Is Always Caused by Shin Splints

Common in runners and those who engage in high-impact activities, shin splints are often due to repetitive stress on the shinbone and the tissues attaching muscles to it. While shin splints (also known as medial tibial stress syndrome) are a common cause of shin pain, they are not the only reason.

Shin pain can also result from other issues such as stress fractures and compartment syndrome. Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone that can develop from overuse. These require different treatment compared to shin splints. Compartment syndrome, meanwhile, is a serious condition where pressure within the muscles builds to dangerous levels, decreasing blood flow and leading to muscle and nerve damage.

Understanding the various causes of shin pain is crucial for effective treatment. If shin pain persists despite rest and conservative measures, it’s important to seek professional foot care. For severe and chronic pain, it is always advisable to see a licensed foot doctor as soon as possible.

Myth 2: Shin Pain Only Affects Athletes

It is true that athletes are at a higher risk, but shin pain can affect anyone. Factors such as improper footwear, poor running technique, flat feet, high arches, or even a sudden increase in physical activity can contribute to shin pain in non-athletes as well.

Wearing proper shoes, gradually increasing activity levels, and addressing biomechanical issues with orthotics or physical therapy can help prevent shin pain in the general population.

Myth 3: Rest is the Only Treatment You Need

Rest is essential for healing, especially when dealing with acute shin pain. It is not the ONLY treatment, however. A comprehensive approach typically yields better results. This includes:

  • Rest: Important initially to reduce inflammation and prevent further injury.
  • Ice Therapy: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce swelling and pain.
  • Compression and Elevation: These methods can assist in reducing inflammation.
  • Stretching and Strengthening: Exercises targeting the calf muscles and shins can improve flexibility and strength.
  • Proper Footwear: Wearing supportive shoes and possibly using orthotics can correct biomechanical issues.
  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can provide a tailored exercise and rehabilitation program to address underlying issues and strengthen the shin area.

We Employ a Multi-Faceted Approach to Foot Care

A multi-faceted approach not only helps in recovery but also in preventing recurrence of shin pain. For long-lasting relief, consider consulting with the foot specialists at Mountain Spring Podiatry. Call or message us today to schedule a convenient appointment.