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mirifique's avatar

Cause of, and treatment for, shin "dents"?

Asked by mirifique (1511 points ) April 7th, 2010

I’ve been treating bilateral shin splints, presumably due to overuse (running, soccer, etc.) for the last 6 months. The shin pain started in my lower shin, but after ceasing running for 3 months and only using the stationary bike, and occasionally the elliptical, that pain resided. I started running again about two months ago, but stopped again, this time due to pain on my upper, outer shin. When I tried to pinpoint the source of the pain with my fingers, I noticed 2–3 fairly substantial “dents” on both of my shins (along the outside); pressing them caused a sharp pain. So I went to a sports med doctor. Two, in fact. Both said the dents are nothing to worry about, and may have been caused by “being kicked.” However I am relatively certain the dents are new and may have been caused by running, as I don’t recall ever being kicked there, and if I had been, I was wearing shin guards (which to me would seem to preclude any “dent” from forming, although I could be wrong). I got an MRI, the diagnosis of which was normal tibias with no evidence of stress fractures or stress reactions. Apparently the dents did not even show up on the MRI. While that’s good news, I still get pain around these “dents” after running; usually a soreness during and after a run about 2–3 on the pain scale, and 6–7 upon palpation. Both doctors equivocate tremendously when I ask them about what causes these. I’ve googled the subject and apparently others have experienced the dents, but I am nervous as to what they may be. This is extremely frustrating as I am a runner… it’s just what I do to keep myself sane, and I’m very distraught at the prospect of not being able to run anymore. I have looked into orthotics, PT, running on dirt, better shoes, etc. but am more interested in simply what is causing the dents, and how to get rid of them (if possible). The doctors are simply telling me to “use pain as my guide”, but I’m looking for a better explanation. Any ideas would be very much appreciated!

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8 Answers

jeanmay's avatar

Here is my advice (I am not in any way medically trained).

If you have pain you should probably not run through it. A friend of mine is a longtime runner and experienced shin pain. The way she dealt with it was to greatly increase her calcium intake. Foods that contain calcium can be easily found on the internet. She also upped her vitamin C, on the advice of a nutritionist who told her that vitamin C helps your body absorb calcium. She took a short break form running and built up slowly after that. She found that the break from running and the changes in diet helped, and over time her pain was gone.

As for the dents, they don’t sound like anything to worry about. Plenty of people live with undiagnosed conditions or pain, and it can be really difficult to accept that nobody really knows the cause. If you’re really not satisfied you can always get a second (third, fourth) opinion.

Hexr's avatar

Hate to say it but the only known cure I’ve heard of for shin splints is rest. I do believe, though, if you want to work to prevent them, using shoes with elevated heels works better. Shin splints I believe are cause by excessive dorsiflexion. But I am not a doctor or anything. Hopefully this helps.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

You should not be running with that sort of pain; it’s your body’s way of saying “Quit it!!! NOW!!” Switch to swimming. It’s much better for you.

…Unless you’ve got plans to pimp out a snappy number from the Scooter Store in the future?

Scooby's avatar

The only issues with shin dents I’ve ever come across were put down to dehydration!? A greater intake of water is what was recommended, this is all I’m aware of…… :-/

Facade's avatar

@Scooby Thanks for answering about shin dents. I have these too. Dehydration sounds about right. GA!

tranquilsea's avatar

I have enormous shin pain when I run. I have been tentatively diagnosed with compartment syndrome in my anterior tibialis. I am a waiting list to see a sports medicine doctor to confirm the diagnosis.

In the mean time I have to use pain as a guide. I only run until I feel my shins tightening up and then I stop until the feeling goes away. Make for a very stop and go run, but I don’t want to hurt myself.

Scooby's avatar

@Facade

Thanks! ;-)

Finley's avatar

I used to have shin splints hella bad but then I started doing toe taps hellalot and I’m cured. Toe taps are the shit. But for real, the taps really strengthen your shins, especially if you do them before every workout.

4 t#3 p!@y 8y p!@y…..
Grab hold of something, a wall, a human being, a pole, etc. and then stick your butt as far out as possible, similar to “what, what in the butt?”. But really keep your feet together and close to the pole, person, wall and really stick that booty out there and then tap your toes a ton. After a while it’ll be KILLIN’ your shins but its totally worth not having shin splints. Do the taps till you think you bout ta die.

this is really late. sorry.

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