Shin Splints (Medial Tibia Stress Syndrome)

 

1. What is causing the pain and how did I get it?

Shin splints is pain at the front of the lower leg (ie the shin), the medical diagnosis is medial tibial stress syndrome. The pain is due to traction and pulling stress to the structure (muscles, bones) around the shin. Undue is place on these structures when there is a sudden increase load (ie increase running mileage), weak calf muscles or poor foot biomechanics. The pain either comes at the beginning or in the middle of the run.

 

2. How can physiotherapy help?

It is very important to differentiate if the pain is coming from the muscle or the bone, the physiotherapist will ask you very specific question to help you determine the structure involved. Just take note of the pain behaviour: does the pain comes at the start and subside after a while? Does the pain come on only in the middle? Does the pain come and stop you from running?

Depending on the above, the treatment will include:

The physiotherapist will help you analyse all the different contributing factors and treatment may include the following:

  • Release of tight and overuse muscles with Shockwave Therapy
  • Running Gait Analysis 
  • Correction of walking, climbing running gait/posture
  • Recruitment of specific foot posture +/- orthotics
  • Activation and strengthening of specific lower limbs muscles

 

3. How can I help?

Early treatment is key because the when shin splints affects the bones, it is considered quite severe. Make sure you are pain-free before increasing your mileage.

 

4. How long will it take to recover? (ie. prognosis)

Muscle related shin splint will take 3 to 6 weeks to recover, bone related shin splints will take up to 3 months to be pain-free

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