Shin Splints

Shin Splints

Shin splints as the name suggests it is the pain in the shins,or on the front of your lower legs,usually caused by exercises. They are common in people who do a lot of running or other activities such as Tennis or basketball. The pain can stop you from exercising and may get worse if you ignore them. It is important not to run through pain. It is caused by your muscles ,tendons or bone tissue around your shin becoming injured.

Shin splints Causes

A sudden change in your activity level- such as starting a new exercise or suddenly increasing the distance or pace you run.
Running on hard or uneven surfaces .
wearing poorly fitting or worn out shoes.
Being over weight
Having flat feet or feet that roll inwards(over pronation)
Tight calf muscles ,weak ankle or tight Achilles Tendon (the band of tissues which connect the heel to the calf muscle).

Shin splints Symptoms

Pain which begin soon after starting exercise and gradually improve when resting.
The pain can eventually become constant and continue even when resting.
Initially the pain may be dull and achy and may become increasingly sharp or severe.
Pain will be felt over a large part of the shin and will make you stop exercising.

Shin splints Treatment

If you have the above symptoms with exercise or running please consult your Physiotherapist

Your Physiotherapist will be able to advice on stopping or modifying the activity that causes the shin splints like switching to low impact activities to keep fit without putting too much pressure on your shins while they heal.

Taping,Ultrasound therapy,Acupuncture and soft tissue release techniques are used in the initial stages to reduce pain.

Your Physiotherapist can assess for Orthotic insoles for arch support in your feet which reduces the pressure on your shins.

Exercise therapy focuses on  stretching and strengthening  programs for your calf muscles and core stability exercises. Proprioception/balance exercises increases the efficiency of joint and postural stabilizing muscles which helps in prevention of re- injury. Manual therapy techniques are used to control the bio mechanical abnormalities of your spine and other joints

Preventing Shin splints

Wear shoes with appropriate cushioning and support.
Run  and train on flat ,soft surfaces whenever possible.
Introduce any changes in your activity level slowly.
Mix high impact exercises like running with low impact exercises like swimming.
Lose weight if you are over weight.
Improve your overall strength and flexibility.
Warm up and cool down with stretches. Stretching calf and front of your leg may help.