Overview

Shin Splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome) are a condition of the leg resulting in acute pain in the shin and lower leg caused by prolonged running, typically on hard surfaces. It is most common in athletes and sportspeople and is the most common injury impacting runners.

Causes

  • A change in duration, mileage or intensity of previous physical activity that can strain muscles, tendons, bones and joints in the area.
  • Flat feet that can pull at the shin tendons and cause small tears.
  • Incorrect technique when running, such as rolling the feet inward.
  • Inadequate or poorly fitting footwear leading which don’t support the feet properly during activity.
  • Performing activity or exercise on hard surfaces.
  • Muscular imbalance and poor muscular flexibility.
  • Changes in bone structure of the lower limbs.
  • Feet with high arches.

Symptoms

A person with Shin Splints will most often experience pain in the lower leg when they start or stop physical exercise. Sometimes the pain will be more evident the morning after exercise. Other common signs of this condition include:

  • Swelling and tenderness in the lower leg around the front or inside of the shinbone.
  • A feeling of tightness at the front of the lower leg.
  • Small lumps and bumps that can be felt over the bone on the inside of the shin.

Diagnosis

Dan Everson Podiatry can diagnose Shin Splints through history taking, a physical examination of your leg and a Biomechanical Assessment to study your range of movement to determine if there is a lack of mobility or tightness in the muscles of the lower leg.

In cases where a stress fracture or bone changes of the shin are suspected, an MRI or X-Ray may help reveal the extent of any damage or change to the area.

Treatment

Podiatrists are the healthcare professionals best qualified to treat Shin Splints. Dan Everson Podiatry may suggest one or more of the following treatment methods:

  • Minimise or avoid activities that cause pain in the lower leg area until you have consulted with your podiatrist.
  • Applying ice to the affected area to reduce inflammation.
  • Pain-relief medication and ointments.
  • A deep tissue massage to break down and smooth out any knots in the muscles around the shinbone.
  • Perform regular exercises for the feet and legs to stretch the muscles and tendons.
  • Wear appropriate footwear for your needs and lifestyle.
  • To prevent the condition from reoccurring, Kinetic Orthotics from Dan Everson Podiatry can be prescribed.

Prevention

Dan Everson Podiatry recommends the following activities to help prevent Shin Splints:

  • Seek advice from your podiatrist on the most appropriate footwear or footwear modifications for your needs. A shoe that offers great all-round support for your foot will help to prevent flat or inward rolling feet.
  • Perform regular muscle-strengthening exercises that target the lower leg and ankle.
  • Gradually increase your training intensity, mileage or duration to get your legs used to the extra stress over a period of time.
  • Avoid excessive running and jumping on hard surfaces.
  • Kinetic Orthotics from Dan Everson Podiatry can be prescribed to improve biomechanical function for those at risk of developing shin splints before the problem occurs.

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