What it is:
- Shin splints is term used to describe pain on the inside of the shin area. A more precise name for shin splints is medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS)
- Runners, jumpers and military personnel most commonly experience MTSS however anybody could experience it
- MTSS is usually felt on the inside of the shin, usually in the upper two thirds during or after exercise. It often improves during a warm up only to return later. People who struggle with MTSS often find pain in the shin the morning after a training session.
- It is important to have early intervention with MTSS as in some cases this could lead to further bone damage or potentially a stress fracture.
Common risk factors:
- Recent change in exercise frequency/intensity
- Increased weight gain
- Poorly fitted footwear
- Pes planus (flat foot)
- Excessive pronation
- Muscle/joint dysfunction
- Muscle/joint fatigue
- Tight calves
- Often there is a combination of risk factors that lead to this condition.
- The first step is to isolate and eliminate the risk factors, once that has been done a mechanical assessment of the lower limb and your walking patterns is performed to screen for any dysfunctions.
- Following that is testing of the local muscles and joints of the lower limb. Including strength and flexibility testing of the muscles around the foot and ankle, stability of the arch of the foot and motor control when standing on one leg.
- The main thing we are trying to find are asymmetries in flexibility, strength, balance and motor control.
- Commonly, the soleus (deep calf muscle) is found to be weak and tight and contributing to the pain.
- Depending on the contributing risk factors the treatment for shin splints can vary.
- Often involves a combination of:
- Myofascial release
- Musculoskeletal acupuncture
- Peripheral chiropractic adjustments.
- Ktape or rigid strapping
- Corrective exercises to regain ideal function, flexibility and strength of the lower limb will be prescribed.