Lower Leg Stress Fractures

Stress fractures of the lower leg typically occur due to overuse. The repeated pounding of your feet on hard surfaces can cause the shin bone, ankles, or feet to develop small cracks (fractures), causing pain and discomfort to the lower leg. Any activity that requires lots of running and strain on the foot may result in lower leg stress fractures, such as gymnastics or track and field. However, lower leg stress fractures may also affect people who have weaker bones.

Lower leg stress fractures are often misdiagnosed as shin splints. If you’re experiencing lower leg pain, check with your doctor to determine the cause of your discomfort. Here are some ways your physician may treat lower leg stress fractures.

  • Rest. Typically your leg will need 6 to 8 weeks to heal, during which you should avoid high impact activities. Swimming or biking may be good alternatives to your normal workout.
  • Wear a lower leg brace. Protective footwear such as the Aircast Leg Brace can help prevent re-injury to your leg. They guard the outside of the injured area while providing enough support to allow you to move around with minimal pain. We like the Aircast Leg Brace because it stabilizes the lower leg to prevent your bones from shifting around while they heal. Plus you can wear the Aircast Leg Brace with your regular shoes.
  • Eat healthy foods. Maintain a vitamin-rich diet during and after your injury to help strengthen your bones and to prevent future stress fractures.
  • Strength training. After your leg has completely healed, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to develop your strength back. Stronger muscles may also help prevent future lower leg stress fractures and in some cases it can decrease the loss of bone density.

As always, consult your doctor for the appropriate treatment for your situation.

Relief for Shin Splints

Have you ever suffered from shin splints? If you’ve felt pain behind the shinbone (the bone in the front of your lower leg) when running, then you may  have experienced shin splints.

Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), is a common disorder among runners, as well as athletes who participate in activities with sudden starts and stops. Some of these activities may include football, soccer, basketball, and gymnastics.

Here are some ways you can get relief from shin splints:

  • Stretch your legs, strengthen the muscles, and always warm up before starting physical activity.
  • Apply ice and rest the area after the onset of pain to help reduce inflammation.
  • Wear shin splint sleeves to help retain heat, which increases blood flow to your sore muscles and can be worn during activity to provide compression.
  • Prevent shin splints with shock-absorbing footwear and/or insoles.
  • Run on softer surfaces whenever possible.