What causes shin splints?
Shin splints are one of the most frequently occurring and common running injuries and there can be a number of reasons why you may be experiencing them. As a beginner, not warming up thoroughly before or suddenly increasing the level of high impact activities that you undertake is often the culprit. Inappropriate footwear is also a common cause alongside running on hard or steeply inclined surfaces or simply training too hard. Shin splints can also be caused by not leaving enough time for your body to recover between workouts, over pronation of the foot and other biomechanical deficits preventing correct form and movement during exercise.
Depending on the exact cause of the pain, symptoms can vary but aching, tenderness and throbbing down the inside of the shin are typical, as is a persistent tautness in the lower leg muscles which does not let us even after thorough stretching. Other symptoms that indicate shin splints are pain that starts with the onset of high impact activities but that then decreases as your muscles warm up and pain that resurfaces after you have completed the activity – in many cases worse than before!
Being so common, it is likely that most physically active people will experience shin splints at some point and when experiencing mild soreness of the shin, there is an element of pushing through to encourage your body to adapt to the activity that has caused a flare up. If however, the pain in the shin persists, treat it with anti inflammatories and ice it regularly throughout the day. To speed up recovery time, it is advised you should stop running and similar high impact activities in favour of strengthening exercises, investing in a resistance band for this if you don’t already have one will help. You can continue to be active through cycling and swimming too, ensuring that you warm up, cool down and stretch well. If the shin pain doesn’t respond to taking these measures within two to three weeks, you need to talk to a specialist and get advice from a chartered physiotherapist. At The Physiotherapy Partners we can tailor a rehabilitation program to suit you, using a number of available treatments including bespoke exercise programmes, acupuncture, manipulation, massage and biomechanical assessment. We can asses your footwear and advise as appropriate to reduce stress put on muscles, joints and tendons during impact activity.
If you think you are suffering from shin splints or are experiencing symptoms as described above, get in contact with us here. We would love to get you back to partaking in the activities that you love pain free as soon as possible so book an appointment today.