With the occasional warm days and first hint of spring in the air, many of our patients at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists are putting on their sneakers and heading out for a run. In your enthusiasm, however, make sure you don’t overdo it and go too far, too fast or you may find yourself suffering from shin splints. Although the pain from shin splints is in your lower leg, this is an issue for your podiatrist because the root of the problem is often in the feet.
Our podiatrists, George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Carl Conui, D.P.M., and Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M. are experienced in evaluating sports injuries and conditions associated with exercise. Shin splints are usually recognized by their characteristic pain in the front and sides of the lower leg, which can be accompanied by swelling. This inflammation in the shin is a result of the repeated pulling of the muscle in leg from the shin bone. Possible reasons for shin splints include:
- Flat feet
- Tightness in the calves
- Poorly fitting or worn out footwear
- Muscle imbalance
- Incorrect training or warm ups
- Walking or running on uneven surfaces
Treatment and Prevention
Fortunately, shin splints are usually easily alleviated. The foot doctor will most likely ask you to rest from activities that cause the pain and swelling. This, combined with icing the affected area and taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen will usually take care of this condition. Going forward, be sure to stretch well before starting your walk or run to help prevent shin splints. If flat feet are the cause of your shin splints, the podiatrist may prescribe orthotics that will provide arch support.
Never continue to exercise through the pain of shin splints. This can result in a stress fracture. If you have pain in your feet or lower legs after exercising, make an appointment at either our Reading office and find out how you can be fit without pain.