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Shin Splints

Shin and lower leg pain

The medical term for shin splints is medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). MTSS is thought to be responsible for up to 35% of all exercise-related leg pain1, and it’s characterised by pain along the inner side of the shin bone.
This pain can rear its ugly head during or after activity, and it’s often associated with running and types of exercise that involve lots of sudden changes of direction, like rugby or basketball2. The pain usually starts out as a dull ache and, if ignored, it can worsen until it’s is extremely sore.

So, rule number 1 – don’t ignore it! Although shin pain can be caused by lots of different things, there’s always the chance that you could be dealing with a stress fracture, so it’s worth playing it safe and laying off the exercise until you can get any shin pain checked out.

The cause of shin splints

It’s thought that shin splints are caused by overuse of the calf muscles, which causes inflammation in the muscles that attach to the shin bone (tibia) and the surface of the tibia itself3. This is because a constant or sudden demand on the calf muscles can overwhelm the tissues to a point that inflammation happens in response.
Shin splints have been linked with several things including:

  • Certain kinds of shoes
  • Hard running surfaces
  • Flat feet
  • Increased pronation (where your feet roll further one way or another than normal as you walk or run
  • Being overweight
  • Certain sports that require sudden change of direction
  • Long distance running

All of the above increase demand on the calf muscles and can cause them to become overused.

Preventing repetition of shin splints

Before returning to the activities that triggered the pain in the first place, it’s important to address issues such as footwear and lower body mechanics to prevent the problem from coming back. As much as we enjoy seeing our clients’ friendly faces as often as we can, we know you don’t want to be hobbling through our doors indefinitely whenever shin splints keep insisting on making a dramatic return. Because of this, we’ll make sure you have all the tools and advice you need to help you avoid having to experience more incidences of this painful condition.

Suffering shin splints? Feel free to give the clinic a call! We’d be happy to help you halt the hobbling!

How do I get rid of shin splints?

If you have acute shin splints, it’s best to rest your lower leg muscles and apply ice to the painful areas initially. Anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen may also be prescribed by your doctor to help with the pain and inflammation.

An osteopath could also strap up your calf to reduce loading with kinesiology tape. This is to reduce the inflammation, which will allow you to be treated without causing too much pain.

Once the pain has been successfully reduced a bearable level, osteopathy can be very helpful. By applying soft tissue treatment, stretching and strapping to reduce inflammation and tightness of the calf muscles, the pressure will be taken off the shin bone and the tissues will heal, which paves the way for stress-free shins and pain-free plodding.

Preventing repetition

Before returning to the activities that triggered the pain in the first place, it’s important to address issues such as footwear and lower body mechanics to prevent the problem from coming back. As much as we enjoy seeing our clients’ friendly faces as often as we can, we know you don’t want to be hobbling through our doors indefinitely whenever shin splints keep insisting on making a dramatic return. Because of this, we’ll make sure you have all the tools and advice you need to help you avoid having to experience more incidences of this painful condition.

Suffering shin splints? Feel free to give the clinic a call! We’d be happy to help you halt the hobbling!

Don’t just put up with pain…

There is no reason why you should put up with discomfort when help is at hand

Call 07540 453 280 or

References

  1. Griebert ,MC., Needle, AR., McConnell, J & Kaminski, TW. (2016) Lower-leg Kinesio tape reduces rate of loading in participants with medial tibial stress syndrome. Physical Therapy in Sport 18: 62-67
  2. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/shin-splints/
  3. Fogharty, S. (2015) Massage treatment and medial tibial stress syndrome; A commentary to provoke thought about the way massage therapy is used in the treatment of MTSS. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 19: 447-452

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Swansea Body Kinetics
102 Glanmor Road
Uplands
Swansea SA2 0QB
Tel: 01792 448 841

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