What are they?
Shin Splints are medically known as Medial tibial stress syndrome. They cause pain in the shin or the front of the lower leg. It is an inflammatory condition of the front of the tibia bone and soft tissues.
Shin pain is a very common complaint among athletes. Pain generally occurs in one or more of the following. These include:
The leg bone (Tibia) may experience continuous stress which can result in a stress fracture of the tibia.
Muscles and tendons can be overused or overstretched which can lead to inflammation or microtears of the soft tissue.
This is call the tenoperiosteum. This is the insertion point where the muscles insert onto the bone and this can become inflamed.
What causes it?
One of the major contributing factors of shin pain in all areas (bone, bony lining and muscles) is overloading the muscles of the lower extremities usually caused by poor foot biomechanics.
Incorrect positioning of the foot and leg leads to poor shock absorption and therefore increased stress on the bone. Abnormal positioning of the feet and legs can also cause muscle fatigue and overuse resulting in inflammation of tendons. Other causes of shin pain include very tight calf muscles, training regime errors, poor conditioning/fitness levels, incorrect footwear and training on hard surfaces.
How is it treated?
The Podiatrist will determine where the pain is coming from through clinical history and sometimes through diagnostic testing such as x-rays, ultrasound or bone scan. Depending on the severity of the symptoms and diagnosis, appropriate treatment is implemented and relevant advice given.
- Orthotics – Foot and leg mal-alignment is corrected.
- Footwear advice
- Exercises – Stretching and strengthening of muscles
- Training regime errors addressed.
- Changes in terrain may be indicated especially when training on uneven or hard surfaces.
- Deep tissue massage.
- Rest may be advised if there is stress fractures. Stress fractures can take many months to heal. Sometimes requiring cam walker boot or crutches. During this time non weight bearing exercises may be advised (swimming, cycling) to maintain fitness levels.
If you are suffering shin splints pain, call Kew Foot Clinic on 03 9853 6877 to make an appointment for the appropriate treatment.