‘Shin Splints’ is a common term for pain felt in the front lower legs. The medical name for it is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome. It is a common injury in runners and stop-start sports like tennis and basketball. Those who run on hard surfaces being particularly affected.
People suffering from this condition will feel pain on the inner border of the shin during and following exercise. At first it will feel like a dull pain but over time it can be excruciating. It is important to distinguish Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome from other causes of shin pain such as Compartment Syndrome or a Stress Fracture. This can involve x-rays and compartment pressure tests.
The cause of shins splints is believed to be repetitive overuse of the muscles of the lower leg that pull on the tibia (shin bone) and cause localised inflammation.
One of the most important things to do when suffering from shin pain is to not ignore it. Two weeks of active rest through swimming, cycling or rowing can be enough to allow the symptoms to settle.
Most patients with Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome respond to soft tissue massage, stretching and regular icing. Arch Supporting Insoles (orthotics) can also help to remedy this problem.