Shin Splints

Shin splints are predominantly seen in runners or people that have recently increased their exercise or activity. Also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints are an overuse injury of one or more muscles tracking along the inside of the tibia bone. It presents as diffuse pain along the inside of the tibia which usually decreases when warming up. Pain is usually worse following exercise or the morning after exercise.

Risk Factors

Excessive flat feet or high arched feet

  • In excessive flat feet the muscles are placed at a relatively lengthened position and contract to slow down the rate of pronation on heel contact (flattening out of the foot) and then again contract to help your foot supinate (become rigid) when pushing off which can cause fatigue and overload of the muscles.
  • A rigid, high arched foot has limited shock absorption thus increasing impact pressure.

Training errors

  • Overtraining or a sudden increase in training

Shoe design

Surface type

  • Harder surfaces will increase shock through the foot and lower leg

Muscle dysfunction

Fatigue

Decreased Flexibility

Treatment

The foundation of treatment is based on symptomatic relief, identification of risk factors, and treating the underlying pathology. Symptomatic treatment can start with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). Orthotics in combination with good footwear plays an important role in decreasing load and also decreasing shock. Training loads and strength will also need to be evaluated by your podiatrist to ensure a rapid return to your full physical capabilities.

Craig Pitt, Podiatrist