Shin splints is a muscle tightness that creates a pull on the inner side of your shin or the outside of the shin bone. It is caused by running on hard surface, improper biomechanics or a weakness in the arch of the foot and the stabilising muscles in the lower leg. Pain is normally worse the longer you run. It is very common with athletes using football boots during summer when the ovals are quite firm, for example. It is also commonly experienced when standing for long periods in work shoes. Shin splints, as a term, is sometimes used interchangeably with other pathologies such as stress fractures and bone hot spots which are also caused by muscles pulling on the attachment of the bone and they can be a sequella. Stress fractures can be caused by long term shin splints.
Symptoms you may be experiencing:
- a dull ache and tenderness in the shins (front part of the lower leg);
- pain that develops during exercise;
- pain on either side of the shin bone;
- mild swelling and tenderness in the lower leg;
- numbness and weakness in the feet.
Initial care - things to try at home:
- stretch calf muscles;
- ice painful area after activity;
- modify footwear, eg: wear runners rather than football boots during training sessions where grip is less important;
- modify activity, eg: run on soft surfaces.
Our approach to solving your problem:
- Clinical assessment for shin splints involves assessing strength on one-legged calf raise, reproducing pain on functional movements, such as hopping, and palpation assessment.
- We treat muscles that have become tight from shin splints using soft tissue therapy techniques.
- Kinesiology taping and myofascial dry-needling are also used to treat the muscle tightness.
- We will prescribe specific stretches to assist with recovery and prevention of recurrence.
- Referral to a Podiatrist for a complete biomechanical assessment including a gait analysis on the treadmill utilising video technology. This will identify any underlying biomechanical issues that may be affecting your shin splints.
- If symptoms are severe, we may recommend a scan such as an X-ray or ultrasound to rule out more sinister pathologies.
We will then create a management plan specific to you to:
- help settle the pain;
- address the causative factors;
- get you back to the activities that you enjoy!
If you would like one of our Soft Tissue Therapists or Podiatrists to assist with your recovery from shin splints, give us a call on 9894 2463 or book online to make an appointment.