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SHIN SPLINTS

Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, refers to pain along the shinbone (tibia) on the front part of the lower leg. It commonly occurs in athletes or individuals who engage in activities that involve repetitive impact, such as running, jumping, or dancing. Shin splints are often caused by overuse, improper footwear, high-impact activities on hard surfaces, or biomechanical imbalances.

WHAT ARE SHIN SPLINTS?

Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), is a term used to describe pain along the shinbone (tibia) in the lower leg. This condition typically occurs in athletes and individuals who engage in repetitive activities that involve running, jumping, or other high-impact movements. It is especially common in runners and those who have recently increased the intensity or duration of their physical activity.

What are the symptoms of Shin Splints?

Shin splints usually result from overuse and strain on the muscles, tendons, and connective tissues that attach to the shinbone. This strain can lead to inflammation and microtears in these tissues, causing pain and discomfort.

The symptoms of shin splints, or medial tibial stress syndrome, typically involve pain and discomfort along the shinbone (tibia) in the lower leg. These symptoms can vary in intensity and may worsen with physical activity.

 

Common symptoms of shin splints include:

  1. Pain Along the Shinbone: The primary symptom is pain that is usually felt along the inner edge of the shinbone. The pain can be sharp, dull, or throbbing, and it may extend over a larger area of the shin.

  2. Tenderness: The area where the pain is felt can be tender to touch, and pressing on the affected area might elicit discomfort.

  3. Pain During Exercise: The pain often worsens during physical activities that involve impact, such as running, jumping, or even walking. It may start as mild discomfort but can become more intense if the activity continues.

  4. Pain After Exercise: The pain might continue even after you stop exercising. It could be immediate or develop over time after you've finished your workout.

  5. Pain Improvement with Rest: The discomfort generally improves with rest, especially if you avoid the activities that trigger the pain. However, the pain might return when you resume those activities.

  6. Mild Swelling: There could be mild swelling or inflammation in the affected area, though this is not always present.

How can you treat Shin Splints?

The treatment of shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome) involves a combination of strategies aimed at relieving pain, reducing inflammation, promoting healing, and preventing further occurrences.

 

Here are some of the best ways to treat shin splints:

  1. Rest: The first and foremost step in treating shin splints is to give your legs adequate rest. Avoid activities that worsen the pain, especially high-impact exercises like running and jumping. This allows the injured tissues to heal.

  2. Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation. Use an ice pack or ice wrapped in a cloth for about 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours during the acute phase of pain.

  3. Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. However, consult a healthcare professional before using these medications, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

  4. Compression: Using compression bandages or sleeves can help control swelling and provide support to the affected area.

  5. Elevation: Elevating your legs can also aid in reducing swelling and promoting circulation.

  6. Address Underlying Factors: If your shin splints are recurring or persistent, it's important to address underlying factors that contribute to their development, such as improper training techniques, inadequate warm-up, or muscle imbalances.

  7. Gait Analysis: If poor running or walking mechanics contribute to shin splints, a gait analysis by a professional can help identify and correct these issues.

  8. Physical Therapy: Working with a physical therapist can provide tailored exercises and techniques to address muscle imbalances, improve biomechanics, and promote healing.

  9. Stretching and Strengthening: Gentle stretching exercises for the calf muscles and the muscles around the shin can help improve flexibility and relieve tension. Additionally, strengthening exercises for the muscles that support the lower leg can provide better stability and reduce strain on the shin.

  10. Orthotics and Inserts: In some cases, using orthotic shoe inserts or insoles can provide additional support and cushioning.

  11. Proper Footwear: Ensure that you're wearing well-fitting, supportive shoes that provide adequate cushioning and shock absorption. In some cases, orthotic inserts may be recommended by a healthcare professional.

  12. Taping or Bracing: Some athletes find relief by using special taping techniques or shin splint braces to provide support and reduce strain during activity.

  13. Gradual Return to Activity: Once the pain subsides, gradually reintroduce physical activity, starting with low-impact exercises and slowly increasing the intensity and duration over time.

  14. Cross-Training: Engaging in alternative low-impact activities, such as swimming or cycling, can help maintain fitness while giving your shins a break.

Remember that the severity of shin splints can vary, and some cases may require more intensive interventions. If your symptoms are severe, not improving with self-care measures, or if you're unsure about how to treat your shin splints, it's recommended to consult a healthcare professional. They can provide an accurate diagnosis and create a personalized treatment plan based on your specific condition.

THINK YOU MAY HAVE SHIN SPLINTS?
GET BOOKED IN FOR A BIOMECHANICS APPOINTMENT

£105.00

 

Our team will conduct a full assessment including medical history, foot & lower limb posture, strength & motion tests, gait assessment using pressure plate system, and treatment plan discussion. Following your assessment and review of your medical history, this appoint may suitable to diagnose an treat conditions in the list above.

For this appointment it is important to have the appropriate medical history as this will allow our podiatrists to identify and treat the problem more effectively. If you have any previous GP refferal notes, scans or test results please bring these with you.

You will need the following for your appointment:

A pair of shorts. A selection of footwear, 1 to 3 pairs of shoes (footwear you wear daily/ and or your sporting footwear).

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