What is shin pain?
The shin bone, anatomically known as the tibia, is located at the front of the lower leg. Pain is often felt and made worse during any weightbearing activities like running, jumping and even just walking. A sharp, razor-like sensation can be experienced both during and after exercise. Shin splints can occur on either sides of the tibia – the inner or outer side. Also known as the tibial stress syndrome, the involved structures are the tibialis posterior muscle, tibialis anterior muscle or both. This entails overuse and repetitive stress causing an injury to the mentioned muscles. Many studies have reviewed that this is one of the most common causes of exertional leg pain in athletes.
Causes and Prevention:
- Inappropriate or worn out footwear
Lack of support and structure in shoes can cause pain and strain from the feet all the way to the back. Shoes should be rotated regularly and changed at least once a year with regular use
- Changes in physical activity
Doing too much too soon can bring along many negative impacts to the muscles and tendons of the body, overworking specific structures. A gradual increase or change in activity should be carried out to prevent this from occurring
- Lack of stretching
Warming up the muscles to ease them into an activity is very important. Many often neglect stretching before and after activity, finding their muscles achy and sore the day after activity
- Flat feet or high arch
Pronation; often associated with flat feet, causes the foot to roll inwards, straining the tibialis posterior and anterior muscles. With every step taken, these structures are put under tension leading to microtrauma and overuse. Equally, a high-arched foot typically causes supination whereby the foot is positioned outwards. Addressing these biomechanical problems in the feet prevents shin splints
Less commonly, pain in the shin can be caused by a fracture to the shin bone. This pain can be rather disabling and often lead to other complications if left untreated. Trauma to the area
Accumulative trauma to the muscles and bones occur when the surrounding muscles are worn out or overloaded and are unable to absorb the stress or shock of repeated impact. Military recruits and dancers have a higher prevalence to this.