What are the possible repercussions of continuing exercise on shin splints and a stress reaction?

Patient

Q: I am currently a senior in high school track, my events are the long jump, triple jump, 300m hurdles, and the 4x400 relay. My triple jump distance ranks me among the top jumpers in the state and districts are less than one week away, with another week after that until state. In the last few weeks, I have developed a nasty case of shin splints and a stress reaction in my upper left tibia (diagnosed by the athletic trainer a few days ago). The trainer, knowing that I'm a senior and what my triple jump distance is, said that I could continue to compete until my level of pain became intolerable. This week, my coaches are limiting my workouts to the stationary bike, my legs have to be iced four times a day, and I've been put on an anti-inflammatory regimen. I plan on seeing the doctor immediately after my track season concludes, but my fear is that something worse could happen if I continue to compete. The trainer told me that it is unlikely that the stress reaction could turn into a stress fracture, is this really true, or is he just telling me this so I don't 'let my team down' for the two biggest meeting of the year? What are some possible repercussions if I do continue to compete?

Symptoms:  Localized pain in small section of upper left tibia that increases as workout progresses, pain on inside of both shins that are worse before and after the workout
Doctor

A:   This question is currently in queue and will be answered shortly by one of our doctors. In the meantime you may browse our library of answered questions by clicking here.

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