Shin splints (Exertional Compartment Syndrome) is a term to describe pain and swelling in the front of the lower legs. The pain usually appears after and is aggravated by repetitive activities, such as running or walking. Contributing causes are flat feet, calf tightness, improper training techniques, worn-out or improper shoes/sneakers as well as running or walking on uneven surfaces. The inflammation in the shin results from the repeated pull of a muscle in the leg from the shin bone (tibia).
This condition usually occurs bilaterally (both legs) and can be alleviated by rest, use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, icing, a change in training habits, stretching exercises and properly fitted shoes. A foot and ankle surgeon can treat the condition, recommend proper shoe gear and evaluate whether orthotics are needed. If not treated, shin splints may eventually result in a stress fracture of the shin bone.