What can done to treat and then prevent shinsplints?
Shinsplints are painfully familiar to many of us who run, dance or play team sports, although the medical name of the condition probably isn’t. Formally known as medial tibial stress syndrome, it’s an overuse injury, generally thought to be caused by painful irritation of the tissue connecting the muscles of the lower leg to the shinbone. Some emerging science suggests that cellular changes within the shinbone itself, in reaction to the stress and pounding of many sports, also are involved, although to what extent isn’t clear.
For some people, switching athletic shoes and adding cushioned insoles reduces the risk of developing shinsplints, says Dr. Sabrina Strickland, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, who often sees patients with the injury. Increasing mileage slowly and training primarily on grass or other relatively soft surfaces also may help, she says.