Stopping Shin Splints

The weather seems to be starting to turn in the city these last few days. Before you know it, people will be getting into spring athletics and revving up their engines for sports, and along with the increased level activity comes an increased risk of injury. One of the more common athletic injuries we encounter at Living Well Medical in NYC is medial tibial stress syndrome, commonly referred to as shin splints.

While there are a number of different causes for shin splints, it's generally connected with physical exertion. Of course, physical exertion is a pretty broad topic, so let's get a little more specific. Running/sprinting is commonly associated with shin splints, or more accurately the mechanics of running.

Over the course of a single stride, weight is first placed on the heel. As you moved through the stride, that weight is transferred to the ball of the foot through a rolling motion; there is a very slight inward turn of the foot to equally distribute force across the ball of the foot.

At least, that's what's supposed to happen. Improper biomechanics can prevent proper and even distribution of the force that is generated with running across the foot, which is approximately 3 times your body weight. If you aren't running with correct form, that a lot of stress being placed on a single side of the leg. Shin splints is often felt on the inside of the legs because of overpronation, the act of rotating the ankle too much as the weight is shifted from the heel to the ball of the foot.

Overuse of the supporting muscles in the inner, or medial area, of the calf can lead to stinging pain during activity. Over time, if untreated, it can potentially lead to a stress fracture of the tibia.

Shin splints is pretty serious business, and it just hurts. At my office, Living Well Medical, in New York City we usually start to see more patients suffering from shin splints during the change in seasons around this time of year. If you are having trouble getting over the pain, we can treat the pain and help you prevent it in the future. Technology like gait analysis can help doctors create custom orthotics for your shoes that can correct improper biomechanics. Give us a call today at 212-645-8151 for more information.

- Dr. Shoshany


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