Injuries at the start of Spring can be a pain in the SHIN!
With the sun poised to return its time to dust off the runners and get moving again. What better way to enjoy the Spring air than a walk or a run around one of our beautiful parks and gardens. The key to getting active again is to stay injury free and shin pain is a common injury we often see this time of year as we wake up our muscles after a long cold Melbourne winter.
“Shin splints” is the common name for the condition medial tibial stress syndrome. It can be described as pain anywhere along the shin bone from the knee to the ankle.
The most common cause of shin pain is inflammation of the periosteum of the tibia (covering of the bone). Traction forces on the periosteum from the muscles of the lower leg cause shin pain and inflammation.
How are they caused?
Shin splints can be caused by a number of factors, most are biomechanical in nature (abnormal movement patterns) but also errors in the training you’re undertaking.
- Rolling in of the feet (Flat feet / Over pronation)
- Rolling out of the feet (High arch/ Over supination)
- Inadequate footwear – too old or unstable
- Increasing training too quickly
- Running on hard surfaces
- Decreased flexibility at the ankle joint
What does it feel like?
- Shin pain over the inside lower half of the leg.
- Pain at the start of exercise which often eases as the session continues
- Pain often returns after activity and may be at its worse the next morning.
- Sometimes some swelling.
It is important to assess the biomechanics of the lower limb and foot to determine any factors that may predispose you to poor shock absorption or muscle imbalance’s resulting in shin splints. A biomechanical analysis will enable the podiatrist to assess foot motion with respect to the lower limb, assess joint ranges of motion & assess muscle balance. It will help diagnose the muscles becoming fatigued and being overworked.
Podiatry can help by assisting you to reduce the pain and inflammation initially and then realigning the foot with respect to the leg to improve the mechanics.
At Evolve Physio Group our podiatrist will provide:
- stretching and strengthening programs
- biomechanical assessment of your running/walking gait
- orthotic therapy if required
- footwear advice
Matt Fieldsend works Wednesdays at Evolve.