Shin splints are like annoying little siblings – they have a certain attachment to you, and you’re stuck with them. They cling to your lower limbs, just like the little brother you dragged around because he wouldn’t let go of your leg. Well, let’s look at the causes of shin splints and learn how to prevent them before they become such a nuisance.

If you’ve ever performed physical activity that entails sudden stops and starts—like basketball, soccer, or tennis—there’s a decent chance you are already familiar with shin splints. In case you aren’t, though, this is what can happen:

You’re in the final minute of a championship soccer match and the ball is on your side of the field, being dribbled up by your opponent. You sprint towards him and then quickly slow down to avoid overcommitting as you get close. He accidently places the ball too far in front of him and you burst forward to steal it for the winning goal. As you push off the ground with as much force as you can muster in every step, your shins begin to burn with a sharp pain.

That sharp, burning pain is a shin splint. So what actually caused it?

The specific causes of shin splints generally fall under one umbrella: “excessive force on the shinbone and tissues attaching the bone to the muscles that surround it.” Anatomical abnormalities, muscle weaknesses, lack of flexibility, and improper training techniques can all contribute to the development of a shin splint.

The “excessive force” placed on the shinbone and tissues may come from sudden starts and stops, but also from running downhill or on uneven terrain, or from wearing improper shoes for working out or running. Also, when the tendons and muscles in your legs are already fatigued, they do not handle stressful force efficiently, and this makes shin splints more likely.

You couldn’t do much to prevent the appearance of a younger sibling, but you can take steps to reduce your risk of sustaining shin splints. Warming up, stretching, strength training, and wearing proper shoes all help.

If you want additional tips or need treatment for any foot and ankle condition, call our Massapequa, NY office today at (516) 804-9038. Foot Specialists of Long Island is here to help you.

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