Are you feeling a dull pain around your ankle that goes into your shin, and it gets worse at night when you are done moving around for the day? If so, these are characteristics of having shin splints, and you may want to contact a podiatric sports medicine specialist to have the issue examined right away.
Shin splints are tiny fractures in the bone, but can grow and become serious bone complications if they aren't taken care of. Here are a few things you'll want to do before you can get into the specialist to have the bones and foot looked at.
Avoid Uncomfortable Shoes
Men wearing uncomfortable dress shoes and women wearing high heels can do a lot of damage to the fractures, and can increase the amount of pain. Wear the most comfortable shoes possible until you get to the doctor to make sure you don't do further damage, and so you aren't feeling the pain from the shoes later on when you get home.
Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate
The acronym RICE can help you treat an injury, and when you get home or when you are off your feet throughout the day you want to use ice, compression and elevation to help improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation. This is going to help ease the pain and treat the foot until you get in for your appointment. Use a wrap to hold the ice in place around the foot with light pressure.
Save Time with an X-Ray
Insurance companies are more likely to approve an x-ray than an MRI. If you can have your general care doctor prescribe an x-ray so it's ready for the foot specialist to look at, or have the specialist do it so you are prepared for your appointment it can save some time. You won't have to go to your consult, get the order and then return for another appointment.
A stress fracture usually doesn't bother the patient until they are done being physically active, so it's important not to push the injury because you aren't feeling pain while you run or do other activities. Instead, take it easy and avoid walking on the foot if possible until you can get in to see a foot specialist for the problem. The specialist may put you in an air cast, traditional cast or physical therapy to treat the fractures and help with the pain.