Depending on the sport, your feet and ankles can certainly take a beating from repetitive play. For more information on the injury risk factors while playing your favorite sport, see the topics listed below or read the article, Foot Health Facts for Athletes.
Shin splints is a term to describe pain and swelling in the front of the lower legs. The pain usually appears after and is aggravated by repetitive activities, such as running or walking. Contributing causes are flat feet, calf tightness, improper training techniques, worn-out or improper shoes/sneakers as well as running or walking on uneven surfaces. The inflammation in the shin results from the repeated pull of a muscle in the leg from the shin bone (tibia).
This condition usually occurs bilaterally (both legs) and can be alleviated by rest, use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, icing, a change in training habits, stretching exercises and properly fitted shoes. A foot and ankle surgeon can treat the condition, recommend proper shoe gear and evaluate whether orthotics are needed. If not treated, shin splints may eventually result in a stress fracture of the shin bone.
Rest: Stay off the injured (foot/ankle). Walking may cause further injury.
Ice: Apply an ice pack to the injured area, placing a thin towel between the ice and the skin. Use ice for 20 minutes and then wait at least 40 minutes before icing again.
Compression: An elastic wrap should be used to control swelling.
Elevation: The (foot/ankle) should be raised slightly above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.