What is it?
Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), is a common term that describes pain along the front of the shin bone in the lower leg. The condition generally occurs with physical activity due to excessive force or pull on the tibia (shin bone) and the connective tissue attaching the muscles to this bone. This then leads to inflammation and irritation of the tibia causing pain on the inside of the lower leg. In more severe cases, stress fractures or compartment syndrome can occur.
Shin splints is usually exercise induced and is more common in sports involving high impact, running and jumping such as basketball, football, soccer, netball and tennis. There are a number of factors that can make it more likely to develop Shin Splints, such as:
- Abnormal Biomechanics of the foot, especially over pronation (“Flat Feet”)
- Lack of flexibility in the calf muscles and Achilles tendon
- Insufficient warm-up, stretching and cool down when exercising
- Exercising on hard or uneven ground
- Poor running technique
- Inappropriate or worn out footwear
Our patients with Shin Splints typically present with pain along the inside of the shin bone (on the front of the leg), which is often tender to touch and almost always worse following exercise.
4 Life Podiatry
Our Podiatrists will perform a thorough biomechanical assessment of your feet and legs to ascertain the cause of your shin splints. A very common cause of shin splints is abnormal biomechanics of the foot, especially over pronation. This can easily be corrected with over the counter orthotics or custom orthotics for more complicated cases. Treatment might also include massage, dry needling, taping and a customised home exercise program.
Prevention & Home Management Strategies
Where Haglund’s Deformity has resulted in inflammation to the soft tissues, such as bursitis, apply RICE:
- Avoid activities that aggravate the condition whilst it is resolving
- Place an icepack on the affected area for 20 minutes after exercise
- Wear well-fitting shoes as advised by a podiatrist or sport shoe fitting store