Shin splints – what a pain!

Shin splints are a common and painful affliction for runners, gymnasts, dancers, footballers and other athletes who train on hard or uneven surfaces.

This page explains shin splints in detail and tells you how you can overcome the problem with simple, natural solutions.

Our goal is to help you be the best athlete you can be. Pain-free running can be as simple as Making an appointment online with Melbourne Wellness' resident Osteopath.

What are shin splints?

Shin splints, also known as Tibial Periostitis are one of the most common cause of front leg pain, and accounts for approximately 15% of all running related injuries. Shin splints are an over-use injury that involves inflammation of the thick dense tissue surrounding the bones of the lower leg. Inflammation of this tissue (known as the periostium) leads to

  • Reduction in blood flow and nourishment to the lower leg
  • Weakening of the muscle and ligament attachment to the bone
  • Reduction in the growth and repair process of the bone cells.

How can I tell if I have shin splints?

  • Pain radiating down the inner front of the lower leg
  • Pain aggravated by running or high impact activities
  • Pain persisting for weeks and often worse on the morning following activity
  • Occasional swelling, lumps or redness over the inner aspect of the shin bone
  • Pain on movements such as pointing the toes forwards or straightening the knees
  • The area is painful or tender to touch

How do I get shin splints?

Multiple factors are associated with shin splint development. The most common causes are:

  • Poor foot mechanics, including over pronation (rolling) of the feet
  • Increasing training activity, intensity or duration rapidly
  • Wearing non-supportive footwear
  • Excessively tight calf muscles
  • Participating in high impact activities
  • Running on hard surfaces

What happens without treatment?

Shin splints won’t simply go away without dedicated treatment. It’s not something you can simply ‘work through’.

Left untreated, shin splints can be the start of a chain reaction:

Pain in the shins => Compensation and alteration to running style => Further injuries in legs, knees, hips or back

Continued and sustained exercise on shins experiencing shin splints will only create further problems and pain. Shin splints can become a persistent and debilitating problem, and can even lead to permanent structural damage.

The solution

You really needn’t let shin splints impede your running. So, before it gets too bad, run on in to Melbourne Wellness and consult our experienced Osteopath. Osteopathy can very often have you on the road to better, comfortable running in a very short time.

Enjoy pain-free running again

If you want to run without pain once again, come and see Vital Chi’s resident Osteopath who has had great success working with senior footballers and athletes.

How can Osteopathy help my shin splints?

It is important to note that when the layer of tissue surrounding the bone of the lower leg is inflamed it impedes the blood flow to the bone and delays the healing process. This is why the pain can last for months or even years. Furthermore the tendons that are involved in this overuse injury have a limited blood supply and therefore do not heal easily without treatment

Appropriate treatment and care can reduce the associated complication making it easier to live a healthy active life.

The primary focus with Osteopathic treatment is to identify and address physical problems which may have contributed to the initial injury. These include over-pronation of the foot, increased angulation of the knees or unleveling of the hips. Correcting these biomechanical changes will reduce physical stress on the tendons attaching to the lower extremity and restore optimal muscle function.

The treatment also works on reliving the tension in the tendons attaching to the tibia through a wide range of techniques including cross friction massage, joint manipulation, muscle stretching and dry needling are used to stimulate healing and reduce pain. 

It is important to treat the compensatory patterns as they have the ability to cause permanent structural damage which can potentially result in decreased motivation & ability to work out in the future.

In conjunction with Osteopathic treatment Posture Control Insoles (PCI’s) can correct the structure of the foot & improve the overall biomechanical alignment of the body. These corrective insoles can only be prescribed by practitioners who have undergone specific additional post graduate training and use a new technology to address physical changes in the body. Retraining the muscles of the foot and improving the nervous system to reduce the load on the lower leg and stresses on the body, also improving overall postural related pain and restoring function.

Treatment time varies among individuals but virtually everyone sees an improvement right from the first session. Our Osteopath will also advise you of key in between treatment activities you can perform at home, to maximise your recovery and minimise any further damage from sporting activity.

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