Shin splints is a common term often thrown around the footy club, the running track or even around the home of a casual jogger. It is a condition characterised by damage and inflammation of the connective tissue joining muscles to the inner shin bone. The anatomy of the lower leg is complex – a matrix of muscles and tendons intertwine to contribute to activities from standing to sprinting and everything in between. The deep muscles attach to the inner shin bone via tissue known as tenoperiosteum. Every contraction of the calf pulls on the tenoperiosteum. If the force is repetitive and/or excessive then inflammation can result leading to pain commonly known as shin splints.
Shin splints can occur in combination with other pathologies such as tibial stress fractures or compartment syndrome – it is important to be assessed by your physiotherapist to ensure the correct diagnosis and advice is given. Patients suffering from shin splints often experience pain along the medial border of the shin; a spectrum from an ache at rest to sharp pain with activity. The symptoms may arise from a sudden increase in activity following a period of deconditioning, excessive running, poor footwear or foot posture, uneven surfaces or a combination of these factors. A multitude of other factors can also be identified by your physiotherapist.
A thorough subjective and objective assessment by your physiotherapist is usually enough to diagnose shin splints, however, occasionally further investigations may assist with the diagnosis to rule out other similar conditions. The treatment of shin splints is diverse and dependent on the contributing factors.
A combination of precise activity management and progression of exercise is integral to managing the condition to have you back at your best as efficiently as possible.
Our physiotherapists use a variety of evidence-supported techniques to enhance your recovery:
• deep tissue massage
• dry needling
• prescription of orthotics/shock absorbing soles
• exercise prescription and progression
• anti-inflammatory advice
As always, the best medicine is prevention. Here are a number of exercises to potentially prevent the onset of shin splints. If you are experiencing symptoms, book online with Transform Clinic and our physiotherapists will provide expert assessment, treatment and advice to have you performing at your best. You can book in to Transform Clinic at any of our South Melbourne, Carlton or Dandenong sites.