What are shin splints?
Shin splints are a common term used to describe a pain in the shin. The pain is related to irritation where the connective tissue of the muscles of the calf attaches to the bone of the shin. During running, repeated contraction of these muscles applies force onto this area. If this is done too much, too long or too intensely, in a way that is more than the area can handle without adequate recovery time, it will overload the area resulting in pain. If this pain is pushed through for too long, it can result in the pressure on the bone developing into a stress fracture.
How to treat shin splints?
Our previous blog (https://corephysio.com.au/running-after-an-injury/) outlines general rules about returning to running after an injury. However, there are some techniques that you can apply that are specific to shin splints.
1) Reduce your running speed, depending upon your level of pain, you may be able to keep running but with a reduced running speed. This will help you to maintain your fitness levels but de-load the area. Depending on the severity of the shin splint, you may also need to reduce the distance that you run.
2) Calf strength- Slow heavy calf raises can help to absorb the shock and increase the capacity of the muscle/bone insertion so that your shins can tolerate more force. These are less likely to cause pain than running.
3) Anti-pronation taping is also recommended, this can be done by your Physio and may help to slightly reduce the load on the area. If this helps, you may benefit from an orthotic insert that will stop your foot rolling in your sneakers.
If you’re suffering from shin splints, and would like to find out more about how our Physios can help you to treat this condition, press the button that’s below to find your closest practice.
This blog was written by Adrian Potter.