How to Treat Shin Splints
There is a lot of information available on the internet about shin splints – WebMD, Mayo Clinic, Sports Injury Clinic, Wikipedia, etc. One good write-up about the treatment of shin splints that I found came from the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine – http://www.aapsm.org. I’ve summarized the article and included a link to the full article.
What are “shin-splints” and what is the best initial treatment for this condition?
American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine
(Abstract. Full article is available at: http://aapsm.org/ct1297.html)
A shin-splint is the most common cause of exercise-induced leg pain encountered by athletes of all levels. It is commonly used as a “garbage can” term to include a variety of exercise-induced leg pathologies but actually represents a very specific problem. It is essentially an inflammatory reaction involving the connective tissue of the leg on the inside or front part of the leg bone (tibia). The medical term “tibial stress syndrome” is most commonly used to describe this condition. “Tibial fasciitis” may also be used because it specifically implicates the deep fascia. This condition needs to be differentiated from other common and uncommon causes of leg pain as the correct diagnosis will dictate treatment.
Treatment for shin-splints can vary depending on the location (inside or front) and duration and severity of the problem. In some sports medicine centers and practices, a four stage treatment program has had excellent results in the treatment and management of shin-splints.
Tibial Fasciitis Initial Treatment Program
Phase 1- Acute Phase:
Decrease pain and inflammation with rest, ice, compression, elevation, and NSAIDS
Phase 2- Rehabilitation Phase:
Further decrease pain and inflammation with treatments in the clinic, maintain or strengthen flexibility of the tissue in the lower leg, and strengthen the fascia/bone interface.
Phase 3- Functional Phase:
Functionally strengthen fascial/bone interface (and surrounding tissue) and protect the injure area during activity
Phase 4- Return To Activity:
Return to desired sport activity (gradually) and initiate preventive strategies