Shin splints are a painful and burdening condition for anyone who is physically active. At My FootDr we aim to help patients live a healthy and active lifestyle without pain.
The main symptom of shin splints is pain and stiffness in the shin during and after exercise. The discomfort can continue for days after the initial pain. The pain is caused by muscles strains from overuse of one of two muscles; tibialis anterior (pain in the upper outside of shin) or timbales posterior (pain in the lower inside of shin).
What causes shin splints
The usual location of shin pain is along the lower half of the shin (tibia), anywhere from a few inches above the ankle to about halfway up the shin. Shin splints can affect just about any part of the lower leg.
Shin splints is a common complaint amongst athletes, especially in running-based sports which involve multi-directional movements such as AFL, soccer, rugby, basketball and netball. The stopping, starting and changing of direction can place extra stress on the joints, muscles and ligaments of the feet and legs.
Although athletes commonly suffer from shin splints, anyone physically active is vulnerable to shin pain. Shin splints can be caused by inadequate supporting footwear, abnormal foot biomechanics, running on hard surfaces, a sudden change in intensity of an activity and/or muscle tightness.
It is important to determine the underlying cause of your shin splints by a professional. Due to the inflammation of the muscle causing shin pain, the bone can become irritated. If left untreated and the same activity causing the issue continues, the shin splints can develop into a worse condition and cause a stress fracture.
How we help with shin splints
To avoid serious complications such as a stress fracture it is necessary to find out the cause for your shin splints and prevent further pain. The first aim of treatment is to relieve strain on the muscle using Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE). Ice application should only be applied in 20 minutes intervals, using a damp cloth between your skin and the ice.
A My FootDr Podiatrist will conduct a physical assessment to determine whether abnormal foot biomechanics is causing your shin splints. By viewing the movement of your leg and feet a Podiatrist can assess whether orthotics are required to support the positioning of your feet. Custom foot orthotics are made specifically for your feet and prescribed to control shock absorption and abnormal foot motion.
Every patient is different; therefore, the treatment of each patient will vary according to their lifestyle and feet. A Podiatrist can prescribe footwear which will suit individual foot type and provide advice on how to recover and get active again. Generally, the earlier the symptoms are treated the quicker you can get back to enjoying your favourite activity.
My FootDr’s treatment tips for shin splints
- Seek a diagnosis from a podiatrist
- Rest, ice, stretch and listen to your body
- Choose the right footwear for your feet
- Wear custom foot orthotics if prescribed by your Podiatrist
- Commit to a treatment program and follow the advice