Shin Pain after a Fall

Dear Ask The Doctor:  Yesterday I slipped on some ice and fell. I came down with my leg bent behind me but was able to get right back up. I immediatley noticed alot of pain in my shin and had trouble putting any weight on my foot. When i got home, i took a hot shower and sat with a heating pad on my leg. After several hours it felt better. Upon waking up this morning i was able to walk better but i still have some pain up and down my shin. Is this what you call a shin split or did I fracture something?

Dear Patient:  The “shin splint” is a stress fracture, is a common overuse lesion seen in athletes (running sports, dancing or ballet) and also in military recruits. The typical presentation is a complaint of increasing pain in the lower extremity during exercise or activity. The patient's history usually reveals a recent increase in either training volume or intensity. What I’ve just described is not your case; you have shin pain after a fall and you are able to walk, then the suggested strategy would be: keep on using the heating pad for periods no more than 15 minutes each time during the day, limit activities that produce pain or discomfort, and for to control the pain you can take anti inflammatory medication (such as “Motrin” or “Aleve”). The pain and discomfort may persist for a few days.

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