Shin splints

Training for longer running races often involves a lot of running on hard surfaces making shin pain a common complaint for endurance runners. Don’t put up with the pain..read on for some tips.
 
What can cause shin pain?
Medial Shin Pain is a common complaint among athletes who present to Physiotherapists and can involve numerous pathological processes. Common causes include muscle/tendon injury, medial tibial periostitis, stress reactions/fractures ad compartment syndrome. Less common causes include nerve and artery entrapment.
 
So which one am I?
A thorough history and examination is required to diagnose the cause but one of the most common that we see in runners is medial tibial periostitis or "shin splints"
 

What are shin splints?

 

 
 
Training for longer running races often involves a lot of running on hard surfaces making shin pain a common complaint for endurance runners. Don’t put up with the pain..read on for some tips.
 
What can cause shin pain?
Medial Shin Pain is a common complaint among athletes who present to Physiotherapists and can involve numerous pathological processes. Common causes include muscle/tendon injury, medial tibial periostitis, stress reactions/fractures ad compartment syndrome. Less common causes include nerve and artery entrapment.
 
So which one am I?
A thorough history and examination is required to diagnose the cause but one of the most common that we see in runners is medial tibial periostitis or "shin splints"

 

What are shin splints?

Shin Splints also known as Tibial Periostitis or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome is an overuse injury which develops due to excessive tissue loading on and around the shin bone. The problem develops in the outer layer of the bone called the periosteum. Tendons and muscles in the area attach to the bone via this layer of connective tissue. When muscles contract, they pull on the periosteum overlying the bone. With overuse, poor biomechanics or excessive muscle tightness, this pulling can damage the periosteum causing inflammation.

 
What do they feel like?
Pain is most commonly felt along the inside border of the shin but can also be felt on the outside at times. It is usually painful at the beginning of exercise but may subside as you warm up. After exercise, your pain may gradually return as the inflammation settles. Your shins may be painful to touch and you may feel thickened areas of bone and tissue next to your shin. Pain can be on one leg or both and it may be associated with a recent training error i.e. sudden increase or change in the surface you train on.
 
What should I do?
Shin Splints do not normally settle on their own if the cause of the problem is not addressed and you continue to exercise. If you have shin pain you should not ignore the issue. Whilst your pain may feel better when you exercise, the exercise you are doing may be causing further damage. As shin splints get worse they stop “warming up” and you will begin to feel pain constantly. You may start some basic treatment yourself which involves applying ice after exercise for 15- 20 mins. You should then consult your physiotherapist for further intervention. Unfortunately if you continue to exercise and the shin splints are left untreated they can progress into a stress fracture of the tibia bone.
 
Management
There are many problems that can cause exercise induced shin pain, so it is important that you obtain a correct diagnosis. Your physiotherapist will be able to establish a correct diagnosis and determine how severe it is. They will also be able to work out what the possible causes may be. Common causes are tight calf muscles, poor biomechanics, poor footwear or poor training methods. Treatment may consist of activity modification, ice, anti inflammatories, taping, orthotics, correction of muscle imbalances, soft tissue techniques, dry needling or acupuncture and advice to help you correct other factors such as training loads, running surfaces or footwear choice.
 
Are there any long term effects?
There are no long term effects of shin splints if they are properly diagnosed and treated appropriately. The worst outcome of ignoring them would be for you to develop a tibial stress fracture which would mean an extended period of rest would be required to allow healing.
 
So… stop hopping around on sore shins…come and see us at SquareOne Physio so we can help you to finish that race you are training for.
Call today on 9968 3424.