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Shin splints

Shin splints, or 'Anterior Compartment Syndrome' is a general term referring to pain at the front of the lower leg, often caused by high impact/excessive exercise, inappropriate footwear or biomechanical problems, including muscle imbalances in the legs where the shin muscles are not conditioned to withstand pounding on hard surfaces such as tarmac/ concrete. The pain generally persists, even when not using the leg muscles.


Correct diagnosis of the cause of pain or discomfort is necessary in order to choose the most appropriate treatment. The inflammation of soft tissue known as shin splints can be initially treated with rest, ice to reduce inflammation, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy. For healing, rest may be required for a couple of weeks or up to 3 months for severe cases

Patients may be advised to decrease the duration or intensity of their exercise and then build it up slowly, as well as to exercise caution on high impact surfaces, until the muscles re-condition. Orthoses may be used to prevent a re-occurrence of shin splints.