Shin splints is a general term to describe exercise-induced pain in the region of the shins.
The most common cause of shin splints is frequent and intense exercise, especially if your body is not accustomed to this exercise and if it is carried out on hard ground. Long distance running and sports involving lots of starting and stopping or sudden changes in direction place a considerable amount of stress on the muscles and bones of the lower leg.
If you have a tendency towards ‘flat feet’ this will compound the torsion through the bones of the leg and muscular tension and stress during exercise.
Shin splints are though to occur when the periosteum (or ‘skin’) of the shin bone becomes inflamed as a result of the muscles that are attached to the shin, or tibia, repetitively pulling on the bone.
- If possible, stopping the aggravating activity for a period of time to allow the inflammation to resolve.
- Replacing the aggravating activity with a low impact sport in the interim to help maintain your fitness.
- Advice on pain relief: ice packs (covered in a damp tea towel to prevent ‘ice burn’) for 10-15 minutes every 2-3 hours for the first two days. Paracetamol or ibuprofen to help relieve pain and inflammation
- Massage and myofascial release techniques to help reduce tension throughout the lower leg and foot muscles, thereby reducing tension on the periosteum.
- Acupuncture for pain relief
- Kinesiology taping to help reduce tension through over-worked muscles and conversely, to help facilitate activity in weak muscles
- A tailored rehab program with stretches for tight muscles and strengthening exercises for weak muscles, plus exercises to help with achieving more effective propulsion, shock absorption and balance.
- Advice on good foot wear and orthotics (if required) to ensure good lower limb and foot biomechanics during sport and efficient, pain-free movement.
- If running is your sport of choice, having a one-to-one training session in our running clinic with videos and advice on what corrections you might need to make to improve your running technique, efficiency of movement and comfort.
Chances are, if you have shin splints you enjoy sport! Don’t let them stop you from doing what you love. Contact us today and learn more about your body and how to keep it working for you (pain-free!).
Want to speak to one of our staff about this this symptom / condition? Get in touch via our contact form or by calling us on (01) 853 2788.