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What are Shin Splints?

Leg with shin splint pain

Shin discomfort and pain in the front of your lower leg can be a troubling problem. It might limit your ability to perform everyday tasks like walking and running. But where is your shin discomfort originating from? Is the discomfort in the front or back of your leg? Is it shin splints or could it be sciatica or circulation problems? Is it possible that you have a stress fracture in your lower leg or perhaps even a blood clot? You can see the importance of seeing a podiatrist to diagnose the problem early and correctly.

What Are Shin Splints?

Shin splints, or medial tibial stress syndrome, can be a painful condition that limits your ability to walk or run. The condition, marked by sharp or dull pains in the front of your shins or the side (posterior shin splints), can become frustrating while trying normal activities. This often seems to come on for no evident reason while walking or running.

Physical therapy for shin splints includes decreasing the inflammatory process in your anterior or posterior tibialis muscles. Also working to change problems with your foot structure and mechanics can be done by finding the problem that might be triggering your shin splints. This may then be treated with orthotic devices that can be customized for your foot and your exact problem. While there are things you can do at first to handle the issue, it is a good idea to check in with your podiatrist to completely evaluate and assess your condition and start on the right path of treatment for your shin splints. If you require physical therapy, Dr. Cruz can refer you to someone.

Sometimes conditions besides shin splints can be triggering your leg pain. Therefore it is essential to visit the Gentle Foot Care Clinic. This will guarantee you have the appropriate diagnosis for your leg pain. A correct medical diagnosis will help to make sure that you receive the proper treatments as quickly as possible.

Other Reasons For Shin Pain

If you have leg discomfort and think it might be shin splints, you might be right. But here are a couple of other things that may be causing your pain:

Tibial Stress Fracture: A tibial stress fracture often goes together with shin splints. Tibial stress fractures take place when you overstress your shin bones and do not allow adequate time for them to recuperate after intense or prolonged workouts or running. Stress fractures typically occur after a considerable boost in workout or training load without an increase in the rest and healing phase of training.  Your body requires rest days between intense exercise sessions both to avoid injuries and to get better gains and performance.

Sciatica: Sciatica is a painful condition that comes from your low back and is an irritation of your sciatic nerve that emerges from back levels 4 and 5 and sacral level 1 in your spine. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that communicates with several locations of your upper and lower legs. Pain in your leg can occur without accompanying low back pain, so your shin pain might actually be sciatica originating from your back.

Blood Clot: A blood clot in your lower leg usually triggers calf discomfort, however in some rare cases, your symptoms may be felt in your shin. A blood clot in your lower leg can be a medical emergency situation, so if you believe you have one, see Dr. Cruz immediately.

Osteosarcoma or Growth: Although very rare, bony tumors can be a cause of shin discomfort.

Tibialis Posterior Tendonitis: Shin splints are caused by inflammation of your anterior tibialis muscle and its attachment to your shin bone. There is another muscle called the Tibialis posterior that is located behind your shin that can end up being irritated and uncomfortable. When this happens, discomfort is normally felt on the inner part of the back of your leg. With more advanced cases, your discomfort might be in one or both areas.

The very best method to find out what is triggering your shin discomfort is to check in with Dr. Cruz. He can carry out diagnostic tests to figure out the reason for your discomfort.

Detecting Shin Discomfort

If you have shin discomfort, your medical professional might perform diagnostic tests to figure out the cause. These tests might include:.

X-ray: Dr. Cruz can perform a digital x-ray to evaluate for a fracture or stress fracture in your shin bone.

Electromyographical (EMG) screening: An EMG test may be done to look at how your leg’s nerves are functioning.  

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI test shows photos of the soft tissue around your lower extremities. Therefore the scan can reveal which muscles might be injured and triggering your discomfort.

Ultrasound: An ultrasound can inspect your lower leg for blood clots which might be triggering your discomfort. 

Obviously, a physical examination can provide Dr. Cruz ideas about the reason for your shin pain. The physical exam may include palpation or pressing areas, a series of motion tests, and strength testing. The outcomes of this examination integrated with any diagnostic testing can lead you to a precise medical diagnosis. Then, treatment for your shin pain can begin.

Reach out to the Gentle Foot Doctor, Jairo Cruz Jr DPM, if you have shin pain. He will help you to determine the cause of your pain and find the best treatment for you. The motto at the Gentle Foot Care clinic is “Hobble In…Walk Out”. If you have shin pain or any other kind of foot or ankle discomfort, please call the Brandon office at (813) 502-5904 or the Zephyrhills office at (813) 782-3233 and make an appointment. 

You can also make an appointment here!

Dr Marc Katz Marc A Katz DPM Dr. Marc Katz is a podiatrist that previously practiced in South Tampa on Swann Ave with Dr. Jairo Cruz DPM. He works closely with Dr. Cruz to create educational materials to help patients and the community. Dr. Katz is recognized as a leader in the Tampa Podiatry community for over 23 years. Dr. Katz has extensive expertise in all areas of foot and ankle medicine and surgery and is Board-Certified. He was an early adopter and is a leader in Minimally-invasive procedures and Regenerative medicine in the podiatry community. Dr. Katz has had many articles published in podiatry journals discussing his procedures and techniques. In addition, Dr. Katz has advanced training in Functional and Holistic Medicine and Nutrition. He is one of a few podiatrists that has taken advanced courses in Prolotherapy, Neural Prolotherapy and Ozone Therapy. Please enjoy the content and I truly hope that you find great benefit. Dr. Katz can be reached at For more information:

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