Shin splints are often associated with running activities, but are still prevalent in other sports and exercises. Shin splints is a name often given to any pain at the front of the lower leg. However, true shin splints symptoms occur at the front inside of the shin bone and can arise from a number of causes. The most common cause is inflammation of the periosteum of the tibia (sheath surrounding the bone). Traction forces on the periosteum from the muscles of the lower leg cause shin pain and inflammation. This has lead to the use of terms such as Medial Tibial Traction Periostitis.
Symptoms of Shin Splints
- Pain over the inside lower half of the shin.
- Pain at the start of exercise which often eases as the session continues.
- Pain often returns after activity and may be at its worse the next morning. Sometimes some swelling. Lumps and bumps may be felt when feeling the inside of the shin bone.
- Pain when the toes or foot are bent downwards. A redness over the inside of the shin (not always present).
Causes of Shin Splints
Shin splints can be caused by a number of factors which are mainly biomechanical (abnormal movement patterns) and errors in training. Here are the most common causes: Overpronation of the feet Oversupination of the feet Inadequate footwear Increasing training too quickly Running on hard surfaces Decreased flexibility at the ankle joint.
Shin Splints Treatment
Treatment for shin splints is as simple as reducing pain and inflammation, identifying training and biomechanical problems which may have helped cause the injury initially, restoring muscles to their original condition and gradually returning to training.
- Ice and rest after aggravation.
- Take anti-inflammatory medication e.g. ibuprofen (always consult a doctor).
Our sports therapy can include:
- Tape the shin for support - A taping worn all day will allow the shin to rest properly by taking the pressure off the muscle attachments.
- Perform gait analysis to determine if you overpronate or oversupinate.
- Use sports therapy techniques on the posterior deep muscle compartment.
Preventing Shin Splints
Some preventative measures include:
- When running, avoid increasing mileage too quickly, allow your body to slowly adapt to the mileage.
- Acquire the correct running shoes for exercise.
- Maintain a good sense of flexibility in the calf muscle.
- Allow your body to have sufficient rest after a session of exercise.
If you experience shin splints and would like to take a natural approach to health, we can help. Our Mississauga clinics have an approach to better health.