As we head into the warmer months most of us are inspired to become more active, participating in outdoor sports, running and cycling or upping our daily walking distances.
Unfortunately, with this often sudden burst of physical activity can come a condition known as Shin Splints. Medically it is referred to as medial tibial periostitis or medial tibial stress syndrome. Shin splints is one of the most common injuries sustained by runners, affecting approximately 16% of females and 10% of males.
WHAT IS IT AND WHY ARE MY SHINS SPLINTERING?!
Whoa, whoa, slow down, your shins aren’t splintering… this is one of those times that a relatively minor musculoskeletal condition has been given a rather daunting sounding name (I’m looking at you, Sever’s Disease and Snapping hip syndrome!).
The actual cause of shin splints isn’t fully understood. Some of the pain that comes with the condition originates from the periosteum of the inside half of the tibia. Think of the periosteum as the skin of the bone, which is where the muscles of the shin attach. During exercise, it can get pulled and yanked on so that the periosteum can become stressed, and can be partially separated from the surface of the bone itself. This causes pain with exercise, touching the area, and can also result in a lumpy, bumpy shin bone.
Other causes of pain in shin splints are tendinopathic changes and stress reactions of the tibia (including stress fractures).
SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES OF SHIN SPLINTS
- Pain along the inner border of the shin bone (tibia) which is usually worse in the morning
- Pain is also worse after exercise and less during warm-up
- Poor foot posture – usually flat feet or excessive pronation
- Surface type – usually too hard eg running on roads, especially with poor footwear
- Poor or inadequate training – especially pre-season or event
- Muscle dysfunction – usually muscle length and strength imbalances
- Poor joint flexibility – often concentrating on the strengthening aspect of a sport without adequate stretching
- Fatigue of muscles – usually due to progressing the activity too rapidly but also due to inadequate rest, lack of hydration and poor nutrition
- Biomechanics – with musculoskeletal imbalances and skeletal alignments that are not ideal for particular physical activities, excessive asymmetric forces can lead to sprains, strains and skeletal problems such as shin splints
- Overweight or obese – People with higher BMI (body mass index) have a significantly higher chance of developing shin splints
SO, WHAT TO DO
At LifeForce health solutions we have experience in treating this common condition and can assist in the following ways:
- Assessment of your walking or running foot mechanics using our GaitScan system
- Assessment, advice and treatment of your condition
- Advice on pre-season and pre-activity training (functional strength and flexibility) specific to your sports and physical activities
- Exercise prescription including stretches to address muscle and biomechanical dysfunction
- Assistance with pain relief via hands-on treatment, taping, dry needling or acupuncture
- And, if appropriate, advice from our naturopath on diet and supplements
Don’t let your shin splints hold you back from being active outdoors – why not get the best out of life and call our physio and natural health care practice in Golden Grove today on 8289 2800, or click here to make an appointment.