“Shin Splints” is a blanket term used to describe acute pain in the front of the lower leg. One of the common causes of shin pain is known to medicine as posterior medial tibial stress syndrome, it has many potential causes, from simple over-use and poor running technique to complex, interrelated defects in the feet. Treatments for shin splints vary accordingly.
Much remains to be learned about the precise mechanism that creates the pain we experience from shin splints. However we do know that the precise location of the pain gives clear indications of the cause. The anatomy of the lower leg and ankle brings a large number of major muscles together in a very restricted space. These muscles control foot movements such as raising and rotating. The muscles are sheathed in ligamentous tissue which can become inflamed and sore when the muscles are incorrectly used. So while “shin splints” in reality covers three or four conditions, the common thread is often poor foot posture and gait.
For the podiatrist, therefore, the challenge of shin splints is firstly to alleviate the pain, and then to work with the patient to train the muscles of the lower leg to behave themselves, so the problem is managed for the future. We start with a careful diagnosis, to isolate the source of the problem. Often the best way to treat the acute pain is simply with rest, anti-inflammatory pain killers and ice treatment. Low-impact exercise activities such as swimming will allow the region to recover while preserving mobility.
Preventing shin splints from recurring generally requires more complex treatment which may include mobilisation, stretching orthotics and dry needle techniques.
So called “flat feet” is often part of the cause of shin splints, and their treatment would involve addressing the “fallen arches”, which can stress the affected muscle attachment at the shin , causing pain.
For treatment for your shin splints, call Cannington Podiatry today.