General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Shin Splint vs. Stress Fracture? Rss Feed  
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2011-05-09 2:40 PM

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Subject: Shin Splint vs. Stress Fracture?

Is there any way to tell whether an injury is shin splints or a stress fracture? I am working on getting in to see my doctor so I am just curious if anyone has experienced this before and what your experience was like. I know that diagnostic tests for this usually start with an XRAY and move forward to more expensive tests if needed. I also know that whether it is shin splints or a stress fracture my Early June HM is probably out of the picture and the treatment is probably going to be several weeks or more of no running followed by slowly starting up again with short, light runs and start building back up.

Thanks!



2011-05-09 2:46 PM
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Subject: RE: Shin Splint vs. Stress Fracture?

SFX generally is point tenderness--confined to a fairly specific area. The hop test will typically cause pain (hop on the affected leg). Pain may subside at rest, but will flare up during impact/running activities--and does NOT get better as you get warmed up. There may be swelling or redness in the area.

Shin splints will often hurt more before and after a workout, and can feel slightly better during a run (not always). They will often be bilateral. Pain is more diffuse and difficult to pinpoint one single spot, as opposed to a general area.

2011-05-09 3:08 PM
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Subject: RE: Shin Splint vs. Stress Fracture?

When I had a stress fracture and it hurt to walk.  I couldn't even think about running.  Try the hop test...  I do a lot of hopping now at every little twinge!

From what I understand a vibrating tuning fork will make a stress fx hurt a LOT!  I did NOT try this (but the podiatrist did do this to me later on to confirm that it was healed).

Can you do pool running?  I didn't have access to a deep enough pool (the one at my gym is only 4 ft deep) so I just did a lot of biking and swimming.

2011-05-09 3:16 PM
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Subject: RE: Shin Splint vs. Stress Fracture?

Thanks for the answers. From the sounds of it it is more stress fracture than shin splints but I will have to try the hop test when I get home (ie when I won't look like an even bigger dork at work than I do already )

Hoping the doctor can give me some good news though, like he wont have to cast it or confine me to crutches.

2011-05-09 3:39 PM
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Subject: RE: Shin Splint vs. Stress Fracture?

My wife had stress fractures in both shins a while ago.  She went to the doc, who basically told her to suck it up, they were just shin splints.  She kept on pushing after the XRAY, when they did a bone scan which revealed a pretty bad picture.

What I'm saying is, listen to your body if you think its something major even if the doc says you're fine, might be worth a second opinion.  She basically got the PA on her side and pushed for additional testing.

2011-05-09 3:41 PM
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Subject: RE: Shin Splint vs. Stress Fracture?
mmrocker13 - 2011-05-09 3:46 PM

SFX generally is point tenderness--confined to a fairly specific area. The hop test will typically cause pain (hop on the affected leg). Pain may subside at rest, but will flare up during impact/running activities--and does NOT get better as you get warmed up. There may be swelling or redness in the area.

Shin splints will often hurt more before and after a workout, and can feel slightly better during a run (not always). They will often be bilateral. Pain is more diffuse and difficult to pinpoint one single spot, as opposed to a general area.

Yup, hop test will usually 'out' the stress #.

Truthfully shin splints if not taken care of can eventually lead to a stress # over time. ie; if you keep training on them.



2011-05-09 3:59 PM
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Subject: RE: Shin Splint vs. Stress Fracture?
Fred Doucette - 2011-05-09 3:41 PM
mmrocker13 - 2011-05-09 3:46 PM

SFX generally is point tenderness--confined to a fairly specific area. The hop test will typically cause pain (hop on the affected leg). Pain may subside at rest, but will flare up during impact/running activities--and does NOT get better as you get warmed up. There may be swelling or redness in the area.

Shin splints will often hurt more before and after a workout, and can feel slightly better during a run (not always). They will often be bilateral. Pain is more diffuse and difficult to pinpoint one single spot, as opposed to a general area.

Yup, hop test will usually 'out' the stress #.

Truthfully shin splints if not taken care of can eventually lead to a stress # over time. ie; if you keep training on them.

Agree with all of this. If they are shin splints or a stress fracture the action to take is the same REST. Not sure how dx will change this.

You have shin splints = REST,   You have stress fracture = REST.

 

2011-05-09 4:28 PM
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Subject: RE: Shin Splint vs. Stress Fracture?
KeriKadi - 2011-05-09 1:59 PM
Fred Doucette - 2011-05-09 3:41 PM
mmrocker13 - 2011-05-09 3:46 PM

SFX generally is point tenderness--confined to a fairly specific area. The hop test will typically cause pain (hop on the affected leg). Pain may subside at rest, but will flare up during impact/running activities--and does NOT get better as you get warmed up. There may be swelling or redness in the area.

Shin splints will often hurt more before and after a workout, and can feel slightly better during a run (not always). They will often be bilateral. Pain is more diffuse and difficult to pinpoint one single spot, as opposed to a general area.

Yup, hop test will usually 'out' the stress #.

Truthfully shin splints if not taken care of can eventually lead to a stress # over time. ie; if you keep training on them.

Agree with all of this. If they are shin splints or a stress fracture the action to take is the same REST. Not sure how dx will change this.

You have shin splints = REST,   You have stress fracture = REST.

 

Thanks Keri. I know the answer was rest. It is always rest. having a diagnosis though seems to help out with getting more information on what I should and should not do and how long I need to keep from running for. It has already been a week with no running and even limiting my walking stress as much as possible. Thanks for the input though.

also to the above poster - I hope my doc does not know the tuning fork trick - I am not a big fan of sharp, sudden pain

2011-05-09 5:04 PM
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Subject: RE: Shin Splint vs. Stress Fracture?
bel83 - 2011-05-10 6:28 AM

Thanks Keri. I know the answer was rest. It is always rest. having a diagnosis though seems to help out with getting more information on what I should and should not do and how long I need to keep from running for. It has already been a week with no running and even limiting my walking stress as much as possible. Thanks for the input though.

also to the above poster - I hope my doc does not know the tuning fork trick - I am not a big fan of sharp, sudden pain

Take care, do rest, but if you do want to hang on to your running fitness, I strongly recommend water running.

Also remember that if you wind up getting a stress fracture--and that's a very fine line (ha, ha, literally) between that and shin splints--you are much more likely to get ANOTHER stress fx in the same place in the future, ESPECIALLY if you don't really good and heal in the first place.

Spoken from someone who's had two tibial stress fractures (same spot) and one in my 3rd or 4th metatarsal (I forget which now, it was 7 years ago, but I am 90% sure I've got another one there now. OW. OW. OW.)

{MELON PRESS}

2011-05-09 5:24 PM
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Subject: RE: Shin Splint vs. Stress Fracture?
TriAya - 2011-05-09 3:04 PM
bel83 - 2011-05-10 6:28 AM

Thanks Keri. I know the answer was rest. It is always rest. having a diagnosis though seems to help out with getting more information on what I should and should not do and how long I need to keep from running for. It has already been a week with no running and even limiting my walking stress as much as possible. Thanks for the input though.

also to the above poster - I hope my doc does not know the tuning fork trick - I am not a big fan of sharp, sudden pain

Take care, do rest, but if you do want to hang on to your running fitness, I strongly recommend water running.

Also remember that if you wind up getting a stress fracture--and that's a very fine line (ha, ha, literally) between that and shin splints--you are much more likely to get ANOTHER stress fx in the same place in the future, ESPECIALLY if you don't really good and heal in the first place.

Spoken from someone who's had two tibial stress fractures (same spot) and one in my 3rd or 4th metatarsal (I forget which now, it was 7 years ago, but I am 90% sure I've got another one there now. OW. OW. OW.)

{MELON PRESS}

That stinks Yanit! you just can't seem to catch a break (or can you?Innocent 

I did find an empy office to do the "hop test" in here at work and I had no pain at all. I do get occassional twinges though sitting here that is semi localized/semi specific in nature so I am just really confused about what is going on. The other great thing is that, due to my last run last Tuesday in which things started to hurt a lot rather suddenly, I evidently ended up relying on my opposite leg more so now I have some interesting knee pain there but that is going away with rest and is almost better now.

One of these days things will turn out all righ!

2011-05-10 2:12 AM
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Subject: RE: Shin Splint vs. Stress Fracture?
bel83 - 2011-05-10 7:24 AM
TriAya - 2011-05-09 3:04 PM
bel83 - 2011-05-10 6:28 AM

Thanks Keri. I know the answer was rest. It is always rest. having a diagnosis though seems to help out with getting more information on what I should and should not do and how long I need to keep from running for. It has already been a week with no running and even limiting my walking stress as much as possible. Thanks for the input though.

also to the above poster - I hope my doc does not know the tuning fork trick - I am not a big fan of sharp, sudden pain

Take care, do rest, but if you do want to hang on to your running fitness, I strongly recommend water running.

Also remember that if you wind up getting a stress fracture--and that's a very fine line (ha, ha, literally) between that and shin splints--you are much more likely to get ANOTHER stress fx in the same place in the future, ESPECIALLY if you don't really good and heal in the first place.

Spoken from someone who's had two tibial stress fractures (same spot) and one in my 3rd or 4th metatarsal (I forget which now, it was 7 years ago, but I am 90% sure I've got another one there now. OW. OW. OW.)

{MELON PRESS}

That stinks Yanit! you just can't seem to catch a break (or can you?Innocent 

bwah ha ha ... touche. Your joke was just as bad as mine

YOU take care and I will too!



2011-05-10 7:08 AM
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Subject: RE: Shin Splint vs. Stress Fracture?
a common problem when trying to detremine if it is a stress fracture or not, is that they do not show up on x-ray (most of the time) until they are a few weeks into healing. So be weary if the doc takes an x-ray and say that you have shin splints. If you can get them to do a bone scan right of the bat it is better. People often go home after a clean x-ray and after a few days rest try and run and just end up delaying the healing process by weeks and even months because they actually have a stress fracture, but do not know it.
2011-05-11 12:41 PM
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Subject: RE: Shin Splint vs. Stress Fracture?

So I saw my PCP today (ok well the guy who was covering for my PCP since he was on vacation) and his best guess is a bad shin splint. He did not see or feel anything that concerned him for a stress fracture but I am not sure how much to trust him. He did refer me over to a local sports medicine guy so I will go see him next week but until then, rest, stretching, and no running just in case oh well maybe I can still do an August Half Marathon.

I may give a try at aqua jogging in the pool at my Y but will probably just stick to swimming, indoor cycling, and maybe some elliptical work.

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