What Are Shin Splints And Why Do They Happen To Me?

Shin splints are a common term used to describe pain around the shin/shank of the leg. Medically it can be diagnosed as Tibial stress syndrome. It is a very common issue for individuals who partake in sports that require running, especially on hard surfaces. A common site for pain to be pain can be on the inner side of the shinbone is called ‘medial tibial stress syndrome’, while the term ‘anterior tibial stress syndrome’ refers to pain felt on and around the muscle at the front of the leg. The injury occurs when the muscles and tendons become overly tight/stressed and then start to pull on the bone (periosteum) and this irritates the bone causing pain.

What is the cause of shin splints?

What we often see in the clinic is a period of rest followed be a resumption in similar activities, and then another breakdown. What is important is the WHY, we need to work out why this is happening and then workout a management strategy to reduces the chances of reoccurrence. Some of the common factors we see include:

  • Poor running technique – most of the time is due to overstriding (higher breaking force) or landing through the heel which transfers the force on an angle (bones don’t tolerate angular force as well as vertical).
  • To quick of an increase in running/training volumes
  • Poor ankle/foot mobility – primarily through the calf
  • Incorrect footwear
  • Weakness through hip musculature – increases reliance on smaller muscle groups to propel you forward (like the calf).

How to treat shin splints and when to see a Osteopath ?

Irritation and inflammation of the bone in the acute phase can settle quickly with the RICE principle (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) with more emphasis on the first 2. If these symptoms are lasting longer than 1 week, it is advisable that you seek treatment as soon as possible. Your Osteopath will firstly help reduce the pain being experienced, secondly look at the reasons as to why this is happening and lastly tailor a plan to help address the cause. Whether that be through mobility work, running analysis, strength exercises or a progressive training program.

If you’re unsure how Osteopathy can help you and your injury get in contact with us at Hobsons Bay Health Group and we can definitely point you in the right direction to making you the happiest and healthiest you can be!!!

Book online today for an assessment or give us a call for more information.