Many avid runners, athletes, and dancers are familiar with shin splints, the term used to describe pain and swelling along the shin bone. Medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), shin splints often occur in young adults who maintain an active lifestyle.

MTSS is considered to be an overuse injury. When there is frequent strain placed on the shin bone, the muscles, tendons, and tissues that surround the bone become inflamed and irritated, and the bone itself may eventually develop tiny stress fractures. Pain episodes can be brief and subside with exercise at the onset of the condition, but may become more intense and longer in duration if left untreated.

There are a few common behaviors that may increase your likelihood of developing shin splints. These include:

  • Suddenly increasing your exercise levels
  • Exercising with poor footwear
  • Walking or jogging on uneven terrain
  • Having flat feet or high arches
  • Exercising on hard surfaces, such as a basketball court or tennis court

Shin splint treatment usually involves resting for an extended period of time to allow the tissue and bone to heal. Once the condition has improved, your physician may suggest that you make a slow return to activities. Anti-inflammatory medications and heat/ice therapy can also be helpful in relieving shin splint pain. In severe cases that do not respond to traditional care methods, surgery may be recommended.

If conservative treatment has failed to provide relief from your shin splints, turn to Florida Medical Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine & Spine. One of our associates will be happy to direct you to an orthopaedic specialist within our physician network who can help you return to the activities you enjoy.

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