Treatment for Shin Splints in Northern New Jersey

Person running outdoors on path and bending over holding shin in painActive people and athletes often experience pain along the shin bones, commonly known as shin splints. This syndrome can be painful and disruptive, but there are shin splint treatment options and prevention tips to provide relief.

Bergen Medical Associates is a multi-specialty provider of comprehensive medical care in northern New Jersey. Learn more about shin splints and possible treatments from the practitioners at Bergen Medical Associates.

What Are Shin Splints?

The shin bone (tibia) is the second largest bone in the body, which helps a person stand, balance, and move. When pain and discomfort occur along this bone, it is known as shin splints or medial tibial stress syndrome. Shin splints cause inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and tissues around the shins, usually when they are overworked by vigorous or repetitive activity.

Runners commonly experience shin splints. Shin splint pain is typically felt along the inner edges of the shin and can make the area tender to the touch. It can be dull or sharp, occur during or after exercise, and can be in one or both legs.

What Are the Causes and Risk Factors of Shin Splints?

Although not all athletes and active people will get shin splints, they are commonly related to exercise and increased levels of activity. They often occur in gymnasts, runners, dancers, military recruits, and others who do extensive physical activity. Certain people may be more at risk for shin splints, including people who:

  • Start a running or training program
  • Increase the duration or frequency of exercise
  • Run on uneven terrain or hard surfaces
  • Wear non-supportive or worn-out footwear when exercising
  • Have flat feet for high arches
  • Have weaker bones due to osteoporosis or osteopenia

If a person has one or more of these risk factors, they should take steps to help prevent shin splints. These include wearing supportive shoes to exercise, not working out too intensely or for too long, and stretching before workouts.

How Are Shin Splints Diagnosed?

Many patients with shin splints do not consult a doctor for diagnosis or treatment since they know what’s causing their pain. However, if shin splint pain is persistent and interferes with a person’s exercise regimen or daily routine, they should consult their doctor. The doctor will discuss their symptoms, assess their medical history, and examine their lower legs for swelling, tenderness, and pain. Usually, this is enough to confirm a shin splint diagnosis, but occasionally imaging scans are used to rule out other shin problems such as stress fractures, tendinitis, and chronic exertional compartment syndrome.

What Are Shin Splints Treatment Options?

Since the main causes of shin splints are overuse and intense exercise, one of the most prescribed treatments is rest. Several weeks of rest and abstaining from their chosen activity is a standard treatment to allow the legs to heal. If patients continue exercising intensely without rest or another treatment, shin splints can eventually develop into stress fractures.

Other commonly recommended treatments for shin splints include:

  • Icing the shins twice a day to decrease inflammation
  • Taking over-the-counter medications to reduce swelling and pain
  • Using orthotics or compression bandages for additional support
  • Wearing proper-fitting, supportive shoes with arch support and cushioning
  • Doing stretches and exercises to keep muscles flexible

These non-invasive treatments are generally suitable for helping treat shin splints, but the treatment plan will depend on each patient’s condition. Patients should wait for at least two weeks before returning to light exercise. When patients do return to their chosen exercise, they must warm up and stretch properly, wear proper-fitting athletic shoes, and slowly increase their intensity level.

Why Choose Bergen Medical Associates for Treatment?

Bergen Medical Associates provides individualized medical care in a variety of specialties, including sports medicine, podiatry, and more. With an experienced team of 40 board-certified specialists and locations throughout northern New Jersey, Bergen Medical Associates is qualified and accessible for patients of all ages.

Patients with shin splints or other sports-related injuries can trust the sports medicine and podiatry teams at Bergen Medical Associates to personalize their care for the best results. From rehabilitation plans and pain intervention strategies to non-surgical treatments, we are dedicated to helping patients get back to the highest functioning possible.

Find Relief from Shin Splints by Requesting an Appointment Today

Patients with persistent shin pain related to activity should consult the doctors at Bergen Medical Associates for assessment and shin splint treatment. Determining whether pain is caused by shin splints or another condition is essential to receive the best treatment possible. Bergen Medical Associates takes a whole-person approach to each case, offering comprehensive and personalized treatment plans for each patient. To request an appointment at one of our convenient locations in northern New Jersey, contact us today.