Shin Splints

What are Shin Splints?

Shin Splints are a common injury in most sports that require running. Pain can be found in the lower legs, localised specifically in two regions of the shins: anterior (front of the shin bone) and posterior (inside of the shin bone) shin splints.

Anterior shin splints affects the tibialis anterior muscle, this muscle is responsible for the up and down movement in your foot. If pain can be felt on the front of your shin bone when lifting or lowering your foot, it is likely you have anterior shin splints (medically known as anterior tibial stress syndrome or ATSS).

Posterior shin splints is pain that is located inside the inner part of the shin bone. This pain is caused by the over-pronation of the arch. Over-pronation of the arch is a common problem with flat feet, and the tibialis posterior muscle being too weak to support the arch. This causes excess stress on the shin bone.

Shin splits are usually a pain we do not seek medical advice for but can be avoided with the right support. You can relieve stress to both anterior and posterior shins by using DonJoy’s shin sleeve (link to ‘DonJoy anaform shin splint sleeve’ product page) to continue your regular activities.

What causes Shin Splints?

Shin splints are caused by overuse and excessive traumatic stress to the muscles attached to the shin bone. In addition to excessive training, incorrect footwear, technique and poor leg and foot posture can contribute to shin splints.

Common causes:

  • Over-pronation
  • Insufficient rest
  • Lack of flexibility/range of motion
  • Lack of support in surrounding muscles (calf, hamstrings, quadriceps)
  • Traumatic stress to the surrounding muscles and joints

The main causes of shin splints heavily relate to the overuse of a certain muscle, damage to the actual shin bone or the inflammation of the periosteum (the outer protective layer of the bone).

Symptoms of Shin Splints:

Common symptoms of shin splints include:

  • Aching or dull pain in the anterior or posterior shin
  • Pain caused by flexing the foot
  • Tightness/tenderness in the affected area
  • Sharp pains felt during the high impact exercises such as running and jumping

Treating Shin Splints

Treatment for shin splints often means longer resting periods for the muscles that have become fatigued and over-stressed. There are biomechanics of your foot which can cause fatigue or over-stress of the shins like having flat feet or over-pronation. Your physiotherapist may advise you to use orthotics to support your arch, relieving the tibialis posterior muscle of stress.

During severe cases, anti-inflammatories and pain relief medications may be prescribed by your doctor. Other self-treatments such as applying ice to the affected area 2-3 times a day for 5-10 minutes can reduce inflammation and pain.

If you are looking for treatments such as orthotics or cryotherapy, Better Braces stocks a range of products aimed to help you recover and improve. Check out our range of Therapy Products to treat your shin splits.  

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