What are Shin Splints?
Typically, shin splints affect the bottom two thirds of the shin or tibia, more commonly along the lower inside two thirds of the shin. There is a possibility of a stress fracture. Although rare, stress fractures can occur with runners and heavy walkers.
There are two main groups of people who develop shin splints. The first group includes runners who have poor running biomechanics or walkers who have poor walking biomechanics. The other group includes those who are out of shape or deconditioned, and are trying to increase their activity. If it’s someone who has not done any walking or running for quite sometime, then they will tend to have trouble as they initially start back into their activity.
Initially, someone who can evaluate gait and movement patterns should check you to see if you are walking or running properly. For the group that includes heavy runners, this is an overuse syndrome. For the deconditioned, this lack of exercise leads to muscle weakness, more easily fatigued muscles, and loss of flexibility. Also, the body’s normal response to biomechanical stress is the release of biochemicals that initiate inflammation. Poor dietary habits contribute to excess inflammatory biochemicals and this can lead to chronic inflammation and increased sensitivity to pain.
In summary, several things need to be evaluated including gait and movement patterns, conditioning, and dietary status.