Shin Splints is the common term used to describe ‘Tibial Stress Syndrome’, where pain is felt along the tibia. There are two types; ‘Anterior Tibial Stress Syndrome’, where pain is located along the outside front (lateral/anterior) side of the tibia and involves the tibialis anterior muscle; and ‘Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome’ located on the inside rear (medial/posterior) part of the shin bone and involves the tibialis posterior muscle. Anterior shin splints (ATSS) increases when lifting your toes up while keeping your heel on the ground and Posterior shin splints (MTSS) pain will be felt along the inside rear of your tibia and along the medial aspect of your foot arch during weight bearing.
What Causes Shin Splints?
The most common cause is overuse or overtraining associated with poor foot and leg biomechanics, including;
- Running on hard surfaces
- Inappropriate footwear
- Over-pronation / supination of your feet
- Tight calf muscles
- Reduced ankle flexibility
- Weak foot arch muscles
Signs and symptoms
- tenderness, soreness or pain along the tibia
- possible mild swelling in the lower leg
- very tight calves actively contribute to shin splints
It is a common injury amongst runners and running based sports, e.g. basketball, soccer and football. As a result of overuse, muscles within the fascial sheath become inflamed and swollen as they pull on the lining of the tibia, leading to pain.
Pain will be present as activity begins but is likely to decrease as you warm up, though worsen after exercise and rest. If preventative measures are not taken, the condition might progress to a stress fracture.
In the case of shin splints, pain is generalised along the tibia, however if you can feel a definite spot of sharp pain, it may be a stress fracture. Stress fractures often feel better in the morning because the bone has rested all night, while shin splints often feel worse in the morning because the soft tissue tightens overnight. Shin splints are also at their most painful when you forcibly try to lift (dorsiflex) your foot, bringing the top of the foot toward your shin.
Similar to Tibial Stress Syndrome, Compartment Syndrome (CS), also known as ‘exertional compartment syndrome’, is also often caused by excessive exercise causing swelling of muscles within the anterior (outside) compartment of the lower leg.
Rest and modification of lifestyle are key factors together with Myotherapy treatment. Mild to moderate sufferers of shin splints have a favourable prognosis with improvements within the first few weeks of treatment.
Your therapist will discuss your physical activity and work, and conduct range of movement assessments to establish the cause and most suitable treatment for your condition. They will then use a variety of techniques such as Myofascial Release, Cupping, Dry Needling, TENS and Trigger Point Therapy. Following treatment, your Myotherapist will establish ongoing options with you. If an underlying pathology is suspected, your Myotherapist may refer you to an Osteopath, Physiotherapist or Sports Doctor for further assessment.
For further information and to find out how Spectrum Health and Wellbeing can tailor treatment to assist with your condition, contact the clinic today.
Spectrum Health and Wellbeing is unique in that it incorporates knowledge and skills derived from Myotherapy, Reflexology, Reiki, Oriental/Sports and Relaxation Massage, Psychotherapy, Strength and Condition, Fitness, Exercise Prescription, Martial arts and Asian philosophy together with Western medicine to maximise the effectiveness of your treatment.
Myotherapy incorporates techniques from other disciplines such as Osteopathy and is similar to Physiotherapy in many ways, focusing on the assessment of the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, fascia etc.) to eliminate dysfunction and aid recovery. Techniques from other therapies include Dry Needling, Cupping, Manual Lymphatic Drainage etc, as well as utilising exercise prescription, stretching and electro-therapy to maximise results.