Shin Splints

Symptoms

Symptoms of shin splints include dull, achy, and sometimes throbbing pains in the front of the lower leg. These symptoms can be felt while exercising, when you have ceased exercising or felt as a constant pain. The pain may be felt on both sides of the tibia (shin bone) in one or both legs.

Causes

Shin splints can be caused by long distance running, especially extended downhill running, or from a single bout of jogging or sprinting. Rapidly increasing the intensity of cardiovascular workouts can lead to shin splints, as can running on a different surface than normal. Pes planus (flat feet) accentuate a twisting, downward motion at the ankle that can make you more prone to getting shin splints.

Background

Shin splints are not necessarily a single medical condition, rather a general term used to describe pain in the lower leg. The underlying cause behind the shin pain can vary. Muscles of the lower leg can become inflamed, irritated or swollen from overuse. The overuse, typically a result of extended walking or jogging, can cause pain in the lower. Stress fractures of the tibia and fibula (lower leg bones) can also result in shin splints.

shutterstock_107326613Aligned Medical Group’s Approach

After determining the nature of your condition in regards to severity and specific location of involvement, we want to figure out what caused your shin splints. It is typically not difficult to heal shin splints; however, careful correction of the cause maximizes your safe return to full activity. We address ergonomics, perform a gait scan that calculates specific forces traveling through your feet during walking and running, and chat about your sport and exercise habits. You need to bring your athletic footwear along for your appointment so we can examine wear and tear patterns. The treatment plan may include joint mobilization and manipulation of foot, ankle and lower leg joints, ice therapy for acute pain and inflammation, and therapeutic stretching and strengthening to correct mechanical imbalances. We retrain your neuromuscular balance and control, which better enables you to avoid recurrence. In some cases, our doctors prescribe custom orthotic inserts to provide adequate biomechanical support to the foot. Graston Technique clears away chronic adhesions and scars from excessive performance and pushes edema out so faster healing occurs. We may provide bracing and supports or use kinesiotape to get you back to sports faster, with safety and performance in mind. Our physician can also offer medications to reduce inflammation and pain or perform minimally invasive injections with Sarapin or anesthetics.