The pain from shin splints is usually relieved by refraining from the activity that caused it and then resting for about 2 weeks. The application of a cold compress over the affected area twice a day for about 20 minutes may assist in pain relief. Non-prescription pain medications can also help.
To prevent the problem from reoccurring, a person should consult a physical therapist or health care provider. The pain could be the result of running on the wrong types of surfaces or wearing improper shoes, so there may be a need for the sufferer to use orthotic shoe inserts to help support the arch of the foot. Biomechanical irregularities in the foot may need to be corrected by insoles in order to better absorb and decrease the amount of force that reaches the lower leg.
The actual cause of the condition will determine the correct course of preventative action. In rare cases, surgery may be required if conventional approaches, used over time, fail to relieve pain or prevent reoccurrences. Pressure around the muscles may need to be removed by splitting the fibrous tissue surrounding them. Although not a common approach, extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) may also be used in severe cases.
The condition that is usually called shin splints is also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), and it is not uncommon among athletes who engage in running or similar activities. The condition is the one of the most frequently-diagnosed lower-leg injuries and is often the result of the muscles around the tibia bone undergoing repeated trauma.