Midial tibial stress syndrome, more commonly referred to as "shin splints", involves a painful swelling along the front of the lower leg. This pain in the shinbone (tibia) is caused by overworking the muscles, bones and tissue and is most common in athletes who have recently intensified or changed their training routines.
Shin splints are usually caused by overuse of the leg muscles, particularly the anterior tibialis, a muscle that runs along the front of the tibia. This muscle can become stretched, gradually tearing away the connective tissue that attaches it to the tibia. Shin splints are common in athletes that run on hard or angled surfaces, or in those who wear shoes with hard soles or poor padding.
Dull, aching pain along the front or inside edge of the lower leg is the most common symptom of shin splints. Redness and swelling may also occur, and pain may increase with activity and decrease with rest.
Treatment options include rest, cold compress, elevating the leg, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, cross training, use of a shoe with proper padding and arch support, or use of a brace. Severe cases may require surgery. An orthopaedic specialist can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and work with you to develop a treatment plan that works for your goals and lifestyle.
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