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Shin Splints: A Pain in The Leg!

After last night's soccer game, your daughter complained that her shins hurt, so you iced her legs before she went to bed. Her legs felt fine after a good night's sleep and you sent her off to school this morning with a kiss and soccer practice clothes in her backpack. Now she's calling and saying that her legs hurt again.

Could it be something more than simple pain?

Shin splints are a common injury among athletes - especially runners, sprinters, figure skaters, and gymnasts.

The term "shin splints" refers to pain felt in the shinbone or tibia (the large bone in the front of your lower leg) after an athlete has run or "pounded the ground" for a period of time. This force of impact can sometimes cause the muscles around the tibia to tighten, pull, or become inflamed, which leads to pain. Shin splints often respond well to home treatment, but if the pain continues, it's a good idea to have a medical professional check it out just to be sure it's not a stress fracture in your shinbone or another serious condition.

Symptoms of Shin Splints

The most common symptoms of shin splints include:

  • Tenderness, soreness, or pain along the inner part of your leg
  • Mild swelling
  • Pain that worsens when you run or participate in other weight-bearing exercise
  • Discomfort in your lower leg that lingers even after you've stopped exercising

These symptoms are most likely to occur after you've been running downhill, on a slanted or tilted surface, or engaging in sports like basketball or tennis that require frequent starts and stops. You may also experience shin splints if you're running in worn out footwear, which offer less support for your feet.

Along with treating the pain of shin splints with ice, rest and elevation, you may consider the benefits of massage to improve healing times and reduce muscular adhesions that may lead to muscular imbalance.

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