Shin Splints: Are you getting pain at the front of your legs?
November 13, 2017
You may have heard of Shin Splints before and the pain it causes at the front of the legs. You may have even experienced it yourself. These days it has become commonplace to describe any pain occurring in the area of the shins as ‘Shin Splints’, though this is not the case. So what exactly is it and why does it occur? Perform Podiatry talks Shin Splints!
What is Shin Splints?Shin splints are otherwise referred to as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), meaning great stress to the front and inner side of your tibia (lower leg/shin bone). Without visiting a Podiatrist to get your legs checked, you’ve got to be careful not to mistake Shin Splints for other causes of pain to the lower leg, such as a Stress Fracture along the tibia or Compartment Syndrome. Admittedly, many practitioners still refer to stress fractures as a mechanism of Shin Splints. This is largely because Shin Splints is not a precise condition itself, but includes various mechanisms of injury that result in pain at the shins. The injury incurred in Shin Splints may include micro-tears to or inflammation of muscles where they attach to the shin bone, the inflammation of a tissue surrounding the shinbone called the periosteum, or a combination of these. When muscles are involved, it tends to be the Tibialis Anterior or Tibialis Posterior. Commonly, stress on the tibia itself is also included as a mechanism of injury in Shin Splints. Shin Splints have a relatively generalised pain along the front and insides of the shins and tend to feel worse in the morning. This is because soft tissues and musculature originating from the tibia tightens overnight and so has a greater pull in the morning before it stretches out as you walk and the pain may ease. Pain can be felt on walking and running, especially when you lift your foot up and point your toes towards the ground.
What Causes Shin Splints?Shin Splints are generally an overuse syndrome where certain activities, circumstances, and intense training schedules place a great amount of force and stress on the muscles and tissues at the shins, to the point of damage. Factors that may contribute to the development of Shin Splints includes:
- Poor muscle flexibility
- Inadequate stretching
- Suddenly increasing training intensity
- Abnormal foot pronation (unsupported flat feet)
- Excessive supination (high arched feet)
- Unsupportive or worn-out shoes
- Favouring one leg while running