Shin Splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome)

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What are shin splints?

Shin splints are also known as medial tibial stress sydrome. It causes pain at the inside of the shin (the leg betweenyour knee and ankle). It affects both the tibia (the shin bone) and the muscles that surround and attach to this bone. It most commonly affects runners, sprinters, basketball players, tennis players, gymnasts, and dancers. 

Shin splints occur when too much stress occurs to the tibia. The overload on the bone can spread to the nearby muscles that support the leg. The most common risk factors include: flattening the arch of the foot (over-pronation), being an athlete of above sports, being a female, increase in mobility and flexibility at hip, smaller calves in men, and increase in weight. 

Signs and Symptoms of Shin Splints

Shin splints is described as pain at the shin regions- this includes an achey sensation or soreness to the touch. Usually the pain starts during the activity of pain  and lessens with time. It can then develop to pain during the activity but stops once the activity is stopped. If left untreated, it can reach the point that it is painful during and after the activity, as well as, painful with all activity. 

How can a physical therapist or chiropractor help?

A physical therapist or chiropractor will look at your risk factors for shin splints and help you address them. From there, they can recommend if and for how long you need rest, icing, exercises and stretches. They can also tape the arch or foot to decrease stress at tibia (shin) and musculature. They can perform hands on manual therapy to relieve pain, as well. 

For exercises, the PT will recommend hip and leg/ankle/foot strengthening exercises that are most pertinent to your goals. Additional stretches will be given based on your needs. From there, they can cover single leg exercises or technique drills in order to allow you to return to your sport/activity of choice, decreasing your chances for re-injury. 

If needed they can also advise or refer you appropriately for orthotics.