What are shin splints?
Shin splints or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) as medically referred to is a condition affecting the lower portion of the leg. It is more common in runners and those participating in a moderate level of exercise. Shin splints are a result of excessive forces exerted on the outer layer of the tibia (shin bone) causing pain and inflammation.
What causes shin splints?
There are two major muscles that can be affected in shin splints –tibialis anterior and tibialis posterior. Both of these muscles are responsible for controlling the arch when weightbearing. If these muscles are over active or very tight it can pull on the shin bone causing pain and inflammation to the tissue surrounding the shin bone.
Causative factors of shin splints include:
- Over-pronation (or excessive rolling in) of the foot
- Tightness in the calf muscles
- Poor functioning of the muscles that act to dorsiflex the ankle
- Muscle weakness, particularly of the tibialis anterior and tibialis posterior muscles
- Increasing intensity and duration of activity too quickly
- Improper or ‘worn-out’ footwear
- Running on inclines, uneven terrain or hard surfaces
Do I have Shin Splints?
If you have shin splints you will usually feel pain or tenderness on the inside of the shin or on the front of the shin. Pain usually occurs when physically active (especially running) and may come and go depending on level of activity. In severe cases pain may not resolve and worsen as time goes on.
Correct diagnosis is key
It is important to get the right diagnosis for your shin pain before you begin any treatment. There are a number of other problems that can cause similar pain. Our experienced sports podiatrists can assess and properly diagnose your shin pain and then formulate a treatment plan based on your diagnosis.
What is the treatment for shin splints?
Treatment for shin splint starts with addressing the causative factors associated with the injury. This may include a gait assessment. Once these factors have been identified, treatment can commence to reduce your symptoms. This may initially include some rest from aggravating activities, stretching and strengthening.
It is important to address any biomechanical causing factors when treating shin splints. This may involve some footwear modifications or the use of either heel lifts or orthotics to improve foot function.
Our podiatrists at Melbourne Podiatrists and Orthotics are here to help if you suffer from any shin pain, so book your appointment today!