CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dear Cindy,
I think I have shin splints. Any advice on how to make the pain in the front of my leg go away? I've started jogging, and a couple weeks into it, my shins were killing me. I'm 47 and have jogged in the past, but I admit I'm out of shape. I did warm up because I know that's important, but it obviously didn't do much good. I tried walking but had to stop that too because my lower legs hurt so bad. I really need the exercise, so I'd love to know how to get past this. -- Thanks, Jim
Anyone who has felt the pain you describe knows how unbearable it is. Shin splints can definitely put the skids on anyone's jogging habit.
What are shin splints?
Shin splints are a painful condition that occurs when the sheath that surrounds your tibia (muscle known as the anterior tibialis) becomes irritated and inflamed for one or more of these reasons:
Understanding why this condition occurs is important and can help prevent shin splints in the future. The tibia is the larger of the two bones between your ankle and knee. You experience pain when activity irritates the tiny fibers of the membrane that attach muscles to your tibia -- it's muscle-to-bone inflammation. You may also hear the catchall phrase "shin splints," also called periostitis, tendonitis and compartment syndrome. Bottom line is that stress on the lower leg is the culprit.
That stabbing pain between the knee and ankle is actually a frequent result when people begin a new activity that stresses that area of the lower leg, such as jogging, walking or sports that involve abrupt stops and starts. Most of the time it's not just the activity but overdoing the activity that causes the condition.
Kick shin splints to the curb