Shin Splints

What is it?
  • Catchall term for overuse problems affecting the legs
  • Anterior-lateral is overuse of the dorsiflexor muscles including  the tibialis anterior
  • Posterior-medial, also called medial tibial stress syndrome effects the tibialis posterior muscle and soleus
Causes:
  • A major factor for the posterior shin splints is overpronation.  The tibialis posterior controls pronation and is excessively stretched during overpronation.
  • Anterior shin splints may be caused by weakness in the anterior tibialis muscle and tightness in the calf muscles.
  • Sudden changes in running surface, distance, speed may all contribute to the development of shin splints.
Symptoms:
  • Pain typically at the start of activity and then decreasing as the muscles warm up.  Pain typically reoccurs after the activity is done.
  • Point tenderness along the affected muscles. 
Solutions:
  • Education on proper training techniques and when to switch shoes out ( anterior/lateral )
  • If caused by excessive pronation, consider a stability or motion control shoe/insert ( posterior/medial )
  • Arch support through use of an insert for the shoe (over-the-counter, semi-custom, or custom)
  • Calf and hamstring stretches
  • Proper progression of running
  • Rest / cross training to allow time for the inflammation to decrease
  • Physical Therapist may suggest strengthening exercises
  • Use of a compression sleeve during activity
  • Use of ice pack

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