The term ‘Shin Splints’ actually covers 3 different injuries and refers to pain in the shin region, often brought on by activities such as walking or running.
The most common cause is an overuse of the muscles down the front of your shin which lift your foot up, and which control the movement when your foot comes down to the ground. This can cause inflammation in the muscles and the sheath surrounding them. Inflammation can also occur in the periosteum of the tibia, which is the sheath surrounding the bone.
Self-treatment should include use of ice, anti-inflammatories and rest from aggravating activities.
Physical therapy treatment may include deep tissue massage, advice on stretches and strengthening exercises, correction of foot mechanics and assessment of running technique. This is a common injury seen and treated by Advantage Physical Therapists.
Other less common causes of shin pain are Stress Fractures and Compartment Syndrome.
A stress fracture of the Tibia (shin bone) may occur with overtraining, poor foot mechanics and tight muscles. Other factors such as nutritional deficiencies or osteoporosis may also be a consideration. If this type of injury is suspected by Advantage Physical Therapists then they may refer you to a Sports Physician for further review.
Compartment Syndrome occurs when the tissue surrounding some of the muscles in the lower leg becomes tight and the swelling of the muscles with activity causes increased pressure in the leg. This can cause pain, pins and needles, numbness and weakness of the foot.
Both of these problems require medical attention and further investigations such as x-rays, scans or pressure testing.
Shin Splints often do not disappear on their own. The injury requires advice and management and education as to how you can prevent this from reoccurring again. Your Advantage Physical Therapist can assist with a speedy recovery!