Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Shin splints for 6 months

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 4 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • January 4, 2007
  • 05:29 AM

Hi,
My problem is shin splints (in the calf mascles) that haven’t healed for over 6 months. I’ve been badly treated and now I’m in the chronic phase. The injury was caused because of intense exercise (samba dancing) without building fitness gradually.
I’ve seen: Chinese Orthopaedic Specialist, Podiatrist, Sport Physician, Rolfing therapist, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Osteopath.
I’ve taken the following checks: bone scan, X-Ray, MRI and a compartment syndrome test.
The bone scan and the X-Ray indicated that there was no stress fracture.
The MRI check indicated inflammation and tightness in the connective tissues. Also, the tissues were thorn below the knee (from behind).
There is no compartment syndrome.
The Chinese Orthopaedic Specialist treated me with acupuncture and some electric shocks for 3 months, which only caused me pain and possibly didn’t let the mascles rest.
The Sport Physician told me to do exercises of standing on my toes (up and down) 3 times a day and stretch the mascles against the wall. This caused me pain and the Orthopaedic Surgeon told me after the MRI that this was a wrong advise, as the mascles that were inflamed were those that support body weight; and that I should have stretched the mascles sitting down.
During the 3rd month from the injury I tried ice messaging. The Chinese Orthopaedic Specialist also tried to break the tightness in the connective tissues by force and asked me to do it at home as well, which I did for a month (the 3rd/4th month). This possibly increased the inflammation.
I took anti-inflammatory medication for two months (first Mobic and then Celebrex), but only in the 4th and 5th months from the injury. This didn’t change my feeling at all.
Recently, I’ve been treated with ultra sound and stretching exercises twice a week by an Osteopath. She also changed the orthotics that the podiatrist made for me. The podiatrist just fixed my old orthotics (that were a couple of years old), without taking measurements of my feet. Also, they were made of soft material, which hadn’t supported me well according to the Osteopath. However, I’m not confident that the current orthotics support me best as well.
The Osteopath has also suggested that there is no guarantee that this problem would be solved at all, as 6 months down the track it’s in the chronic stage and the body has got used to the inflammation that it might be impossible to heal from that.
I’m able to walk, but standing up on one spot causes me pain. I swim 3 times a week and also cycled for a couple of months following some advise from the Chinese Orthopaedic Specialist; but has stopped it a month ago following the Osteopath’s order.
By the way, I’ve done a blood test and all was fine. Also, I’ve been taking glucosamine and fish oil for 4 months.
I’m so desperate and disappointed of not being able to solve this problem. Each doctor / therapist has got a different view and takes a different approach, but no one has been able to help.
I guess my question is: Do you think I may stay disabled for the rest of my life, or do you see any solution? I’m way beyond depression and will do anything to solve this. Would really appreciate any advise.
Thanks so much,
Tomer G

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4 Replies:

  • In my opinion 6 months is not an indication of life long problem. Conditions that fall under the shin splint umbrella could take up to 18 months to resolve. For example, Periostitis can take several months to more than a year...I understand your frustration tho. Hang in there.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • September 11, 2008
    • 10:57 PM
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  • The only sure cure for shin splints is to find out what is causing them and to eliminate the cause. It most likely took years for the symptoms to appear and you are not going to get a miracle cure in 6 months. Inflammation and swelling is normal after aggressive treatment. It sounds like you've finally found someone that you are comfortable with and is in tune with what you need. Stick with them.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • September 15, 2008
    • 01:24 PM
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  • Ok, it's been a while, but I have finally decided to write what the RIGHT diagnosis was.Apparently, it was a simple case of Wear and Tear of the joints between two disks that pressured the nerves and created the shin splint. As you can appreciate, by treating the shin splint the doctors actually treated the symptoms rather than the cause.The Sport Specialist that has helped me diagnose the actual problem was Dr Harry Unglic from the Melbourne Sports Clinic:http://www.melbsportsmed.com.au/dr-harry-unglik.htmlIt took him exactly 30 seconds to diagnose and after a month of back stretching exercises I was able to stand up and walk for longer periods, following which he proposed that I started Pilates.Pilates has changed my life. There is no actual cure to a wear and tear, but it's absolutely manageable. By doing Pilates a few times a week (now at home), I feel no pain, as long as I avoid doing activities that I have diagnosed as bad for my back.My take away from this experience:1) Never give up! Fight and look for a solution, it might take you a while, but you will eventually find it. Don't listen to anyone who tries to convince you that there is no solution. Take it as a sign that THEY do not know what the solution should be and keep on looking.2) Internet is a fantastic tool - use it! Write in forums, look for specialists with proven track record, don't rely on friends' recommendations only. 3) Maintain a daily diary of activities you have done and how you felt. Analyse if after a while. You may find the relationship between activities and body reaction, perhaps in a one day delay.4) Try various checks to diagnose your problem. It may not be what you believe it to be. CT Scan didn't diagnose my lower back problem, but Dr Unglik insisted that I take the MRI check to prove that the issue was indeed with my lower back; and the MRI check did show that.5) Keep your spirit high. Maintaining your social life is hard, but you have to keep on doing it. Good luck and get well soon! :)
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 21, 2009
    • 06:39 AM
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  • Just to clarify, the MRI I was referring to in the first post was done on my legs, which is the reason why it didn't diagnose the actual problem. The CT scan on both legs and lower back didn't diagnose it as well; and only the MRI on the lower back did. MRI in Australia, as opposed to CT scan, is not paid for by Medicare (the Government scheme), so all cost is out-of-pocket, which is the reason why doctors prefer to send you to take CT scan first.I am not suggesting that one is better than the other, it is just a case of trying out all options until you are able to diagnose the source of pain.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 22, 2009
    • 09:38 PM
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