Shin splints, or medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), are a common condition in runners and cause throbbing and aching in the lower part of the leg between the knee and the ankle. The pain might strike during your run, after your run or you might just be unlucky enough to feel it all the time.
Shin splints generally result from too much force being placed on your shinbone and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone, and may be caused by:
- Irritated and swollen muscles
- Stress fractures
- Over-pronation or flat feet
Having the proper equipment for any sport is important to minimize the risk of injury–and shoes are the most important piece of equipment for a runner. Most companies who specialize in running shoes make significant investment into the technology and science of developing high performance footwear—and appropriate footwear can help prevent and reduce the effect of shin splints. However, good running shoes may not be enough to prevent this painful condition – especially for those runners with over-pronated feet, or feet which have fairly good arches when not standing up, but flatten excessively when walking or running.
While shin splits often heal on their own, ignoring them can result in more serious injuries, such as stress fractures to the bone. Rest and applying ice are common treatments for shin splints, but new shoes and custom running orthotics may be the answer. Orthotic insoles are useful in that they help prevent over-pronation and provide heel cushioning to reduce impact while providing heel stability.
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