What are Shin Splints?
The term “Shin splints” is a kind of catch all term for problems of pain and tightness in the shin region. Usually these symptoms a product of overuse or overload. Examples of overload might include taking up walking or jogging as a new exercise, or perhaps increasing your usual jogging distance or speed.
In mild cases, pain in the shins can be explained as a type of muscle/tendon pain where the train of a particular activity (e.g jogging) is sufficient to trigger and sensitize the nerves associated with the muscle/tendon complex. Once the system is sensitized and irritated, it is less tolerant of being loaded, which means activities such as jogging or walking can become (and remain) painful.
In more severe cases, the underlying pathology driving the symptoms may be a stress fracture of the shin bone. We can let you know if your particular case is more of a muscle problem or bone problem.
How is it fixed?
Whether your symptoms are largely musculotendinous in nature, or are a product of a stress reaction or fracture in your shin bone, the treatment for shins splints involves rest and lots of soft tissue massage/therapy. If you do have a stress fracture, you will probably need to go into a moonboot for a few weeks so that your shin bone has a chance to rest and heal.
Once your shin muscles and shin bone have had sufficient rest and have been sufficiently loosened up with manual and soft tissue therapy, we need to guide your return to activity in a way that minimises the chance of a recurrence of symptoms. We do this by putting together a strength and conditioning program for you that gradually exposes your shin to progressive increments in load intensity, frequency and duration.
For more information, feel free to call Patrick on 9665 9667.