Prevention and Treatment of Leg Injuries
Shin Splints or medial tibial stress syndrome is considered a cumulative stress injury. This means they are most often the result of repeated stress to the bones and muscles without proper conditioning or rest between sports activities. The term shin splints is not actually a diagnosis. It's more accurately a description of an underlying problem, which is inflammation of the sheath surrounding the bone and the tendons that attach to the bone.
This inflammation can cause pain on the outer front portion or the back inside portion of the lower leg. The best way to prevent shin splints includes proper warm up and stretching, wearing shoes that are designed for the activity and your overall foot structure. You should always be mindful of the surface on which you are exercising and avoid a hard surface whenever possible. Shin splints are also commonly associated with foot alignment problems and other biomechanical abnormalities such as over pronation or muscle imbalance. A thorough examination by your Podiatrist will address and correct any biomechanical issues.
A Podiatrist is uniquely qualified to diagnose, and implement targeted treatment options including cold therapy using ice packs or ice baths, proper tapping techniques, bracing, custom or non-custom orthotics, stretching, and muscle strengthening. Medication to reduce inflammation and a change in everyday footwear may also be part of a comprehensive treatment program.
Compartment syndrome is an acute medical problem following a traumatic injury such as a strong blow to the leg, overdevelopment of muscles, or complications from surgery, causing severe swelling or bleeding. Muscle groups in the legs contain nerves and blood vessels and are covered by a tough membrane called the fascia. The whole unit is called a compartment. This compartment does not readily expand which makes it susceptible to pressure build-up.
When the pressure gets too high, Compartment Syndrome develops, preventing oxygen and nourishment from reaching muscle cells and applying pressure to the nerves in the compartment. Compartment Syndrome can be acute or chronic. Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency which can lead to paralysis, loss of limb or even death. Chronic compartment syndrome is characterized by pain, swelling, burning, numbness, or difficulty moving the foot during activity.
These symptoms often dissipate afterwards. However, these symptoms should not be ignored, especially if they occur shortly after an injury and surgery is typically required to reduce the pressure in the compartment.