Shin splits! What are they and how can we help?

Shin splints or medial tibial stress syndrome is a common injury for people who often engage in activities that require a lot of running and high weight bearing activities. Shin splint is often used to describe a lot of conditions in the lower limb however its referring to a specific area of the lower limb. The pain from the inside 1/3 of the front of your shin bone. The pain is caused by inflammation of the muscles and fascia along the inside of the shin and can possibly lead to inflammation of the periosteum of the shin bone (outer layer of bone)

What are the symptoms of shin splints?

Tenderness, soreness, or pain along the inner side of your shinbone and mild swelling in your lower leg. At first, the pain might stop when you stop exercising. Eventually, however, the pain can be continuous and might progress to a stress reaction or stress fracture.

What are the causes of Shin splints?

While there are many causes or shin splints, they can be broken down into two main categories:

Overloading – excessive amounts of running or training, especially if there is a poor technique, running on hard or uneven surfaces, excessive uphill running, and poor footwear

Poor biomechanics – People who have abnormal lower limb biomechanics will be at higher risk of getting shin splints. The most common abnormality is Over-pronation. Which occurs when the foot and ankle continue to roll excessively inward. This excessive inward rolling causes the tibia to twist, which in-turn, over stretches the muscles, tendons, and fascia of the lower leg.

What can we do to help?

Here at sole therapy we will provide a full biomechanical assessment to determine the cause of your shin splints and design and appropriate treatment plan that best suits your needs. Some treatments include:

- Custom orthotics to control excessive pronation

- Activity modification to reduce overloading

- Exercise and rehab programs

- Soft tissue therapy such as Dry Needling and K-Laser to help improve healing time and reduce pain and inflammation

- Footwear assessment to ensure adequate footwear is used when training

- Taping and strapping of the area

- Gait retraining to improve running efficiency and improper loading during training.

Words from one of our Podiatrist's,