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When to seek treatment for shin splints

What is a shin splint?

Shin splints are a common, physical phenomenon that result from intense exercise. Shin splints characterize pain along the inner edge of the shin’s bone area. This occurs most prominently after physical exercise or vigorous movements, especially running activities. Even if one is just embarking upon a simple fitness regimen, they can develop this condition. Sometimes, a sudden change in physical intensity (within a given fitness regimen) will produce this uncomfortable sensation. For example, if an individual begins to run longer distances with a greater frequency, this condition may suddenly arise.


This condition is caused by the inflammation of the tibia region, which comprises muscles, tendons and bone tissue. Pain is usually experienced along the inner edges of the tibia, generally where the bones and the muscles fuse together. Generally, feet that are flat or ridged in nature have a greater susceptibility to this condition. Furthermore, exercising with ill fitted shoes can cause these issues as well. Runners and joggers are the most vulnerable to developing shin splints, and dancers and members of the military are also commonly at increased risk for this problem. There are a few characteristic symptoms that distinguish shin splints from other leg conditions. For example, shin splint pain may conjure sharp or throbbing pains, and may be tender to touch.


A number of different factors contribute to shin splints. The most common cause is a sudden increase in distance or intensity of a workout schedule. Tendinitis is another cause, and occurs when the tendons experience inflammation. This can give rise to severe pain, and an MRI can assist with the diagnostic process. In rare cases, chronic exertional compartment syndrome may cause this issue. This syndrome is highly painful, and is induced by exercise. It brings on a host of uncomfortable symptoms, including shin splints. Once you cease activity, however, the symptoms usually dissolve.


Available treatments include orthotics, anti-inflammatory medications, ice and compression. Surgery, however, may be required in severe cases.

Seeking Medical Aid

If you suspect that you suffer from this condition, you should consider consulting with a medical professional. Once you doctor has evaluated your medical history and symptoms, they will proceed to examine your leg and pursue additional tests if necessary. Seek treatment if the pain exacerbates, or you take note of these symptoms frequently, after exercise.

Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum is a Podiatric Physician and Surgeon serving patients in Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach.

Do you have questions or concerns?

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16244 S. Military Trail #290
, Delray Beach, FL 33445



8198 Jog Road #100
, Boynton Beach, FL 33472



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