Shin splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome) is a common and frequently treated condition seen across many health clinics. Typically seen in runners and athletes, this injury can limit activity and at times completely prevent any form of high-intensity exercise.
The cause of this injury is poorly understood however pain is likely a result, but not limited to, biomechanics, an increase in activity, weight gain and a lack of conditioning.
This injury typically presents with pain to the inner (medial) border of the shinbone in the lower leg. It is common for both legs to be affected at the same time, however unilateral pain can present. During exercise pain may commence initially however reduce throughout the course of the activity. Shin splints will also cause pain following the conclusion of activity and can linger for sometime after.
The anatomy of the injury is poorly understood, however it is thought that traction of the surrounding soft tissue structures may cause micro-trauma to the lining of the Tibia (shin bone).
- Excessive pronation (collapsed arches): Pronation is clinically referred to the collapse of the arch in the foot. This is a natural occurrence for some however can be a leading risk factor in the development of shin splints. When your arch collapses at a rapid rate, the musculoskeletal structures within the foot and lower leg can increase traction to the lining of the tibia.
- Lack of conditioning or rapid increase in activity: Shin splints can be attributed to training programs or a rapid increase of activity. Furthermore, after a period of inactivity and weight gain the mechanics of the lower limb are not conditioned to perform the action required and consequently injury is a result.
- Hard surfaces and footwear: Training on hard surfaces and footwear are also a common contributing factor to the development of this debilitating condition.
- High arch foot: The opposite to having a low arch foot, a high arch or rigid foot type can reduce the shock attenuation. This can lead to excessive strain to the surrounding musculoskeletal structures
How can a Podiatrist help?
- Running programs & video gait assessment to identify risk factors and target mechanical weaknesses.
- Orthotic therapy is an important component when treating shin splints. Custom, function orthotics aim to provide shock attenuation and correct or reduce biomechanical overload.
- Footwear assessment and recommendations to ensure a sound, supportive foundation.
- Strengthening programs aimed at increasing tolerance to loads and maintaining conditioning.
If you or someone you know may be suffering from this frustrating and painful condition then contact the Pro Feet Podiatry team to arrange an appointment on 1300 945 789 or simply book online.
We endeavour to work with you to achieve your active goals in a progressive and supportive manner so you can get back running comfortably for the upcoming summer!
Yours in keeping active, healthy and happy!
Pro Feet Podiatry
Podiatrist Tom Beasley consults at both the Hawthorn & New Street Brighton clinics. A lover of cricket and all sports, Tom can point you in the right direction to achieving your sporting or active goals for the year 2018!