What are Shin Splints
Shin Splints is an overuse condition commonly caused by running and other weight-bearing activities. There are two varieties of shin splints, posterior and anterior. This condition is caused when the tibialis anterior muscle or tibialis posterior muscle respectively become tight and pull on the connective tissue (Periosteum) lining the tibia or shin bone. This tension creates a painful inflammation along the shin between the knee and ankle that is made worse with activity and contraction of the involved muscles.
What Causes Shin Splints
When someone over-pronates or pronates too rapidly, either or both of these muscles may be called upon to work harder than normal. As a result, fatigue sets in, leading to inefficient force production which leads to micro-tearing of the soft tissue and therefore an inflammatory reaction.
What are Shin Splints Signs and Symptoms
- Tenderness over the inside shin area (may start as a dull ache and progress to a sharp pain)
- Pain starts with activity and then seems to disappear, but may return at the end of activity, as shin splints get worse the pain may last longer
- May see lower leg redness (rubor)
- Lower leg swelling
- May feel a lump or bump on the lower leg
- Pain with toes or ankle pointed downwards
- Running on uneven surfaces
- Running downhill
- Resuming activity (exercise) after a period of no or reduced activity
- Weak muscles in the front of the leg (stronger muscles in the back of your leg)
- Over-pronation (when your foot rolls to the inside and your arch flattens)
- Wearing inappropriate shoes (worn-out or incorrect for your foot type)
- Training too hard too soon (not increasing your activity gradually), because muscles that fatigue
- quickly lose their ability to absorb shock and therefore more stress is placed on the bones
First, rest and ice to decrease damage being done and inflammation. Following the acute phase, orthotics are prescribed to reduce the over-pronation and help take the load of the muscles that will be over-worked if the pronation is not controlled.