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What are shin splints?


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Answered 2010-02-15 06:09:25

Shin spliints are actually microfractures of the tibia. Extremely painful but not dangerous. They are best treated by avoidence of the causative injury. They are usually caused by running, usually aggressive, as in soccer, football, track and field, jogging, marching, etc. Like any other fracture they can take 6 to 8 weeks to resolve but usually resolve in two to three weeks. They are not visible on x-ray or even MRI, and they are usually diagnosed just by history and physical examination. If definitive diagnosis is really needed, a test callled a "triple phase bone scan" is performed.

Any of various painful conditions of the shins caused by inflammation of the surrounding muscles, frequently occurring among runners.

Actually, shin splints can be caused by a number of factors. 2 of the most common forms of shin splints are I) periostitis, and II)tibialis anterior tendinitis.

I) periostitis is an irritation of the pereosteum (the tissue joining the tibia and fibula) caused by repetitive pounding of the feet. This is often seen in runners who run on uneven surfaces (grass, forest trails, etc.). Periostitis, if unresolved, can lead to what the above poster mentioned: stress fractures. these can become very serious, and take quite some time to heal.

II) tibialis anterior tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendon of the main dorsiflexor of the foot (lifting the toes and pointing the foot upwards). this is often caused by repetitive forced dorsiflexion, as seen in persistent uphill running. This is fairly non-serious, unless the tendon completely ruptures which is very rarely the case.

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