What is shin splints?
Also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), shin splints is a condition that causes pain in the lower leg, between the knee and ankle. MTSS is the result of cumulative stress on the shin bones and the surrounding tissue. Excessive pressure on the shin bone causes the lower leg muscles to swell, resulting in inflammation and pain.
The condition is most likely to occur in patients who engage in moderate to heavy physical activity like running. While shin splints can sometimes resolve on its own with rest, it may develop into a stress fracture or complete fracture if the body isn’t given sufficient downtime to recover.
What causes shin splints?
Shin splints is most commonly associated with activities that cause repetitive stress to the shinbone, especially if the increase in activity is sudden. This stress causes inflammation of the connective tissue surrounding the tibia, which leads to pain and discomfort. Tibial injuries such as tendinopathy and periosteal remodeling may also cause shin splints.
There are several risk factors that can make a patient more susceptible to developing shin splints. One major risk factor is overpronation; patients whose feet move downward and inward when they walk are at greater risk of shin splints. Flat feet, tight calf muscles, high arches, a tight Achilles tendon, activities on uneven ground, or poorly-fitted shoes can also contribute to shin splints.
The most common causes of shin splints include:
- Repeated stress on the shinbone
- Tibial injuries
- Flat feet or high arches
- A sudden increase in activity
- Tight calf muscles or Achilles tendon
Source: Medical News Today
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