Shin splints

Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

The term “shin splints” refers to an overuse injury that causes pain along the inner edge of the tibia (shin bone.) They typically develop after physical activity such as running, jumping, dancing etc.
It is caused by inflammation of the muscles, tendons and in severe cases even the bone itself (tibia).

Biomechanical abnormalities such as tight calf muscles, flat feet or high arched feet can all predispose towards shin splints. Tight calf muscles cause the muscles around front of the leg or shin to have to work harder (and create greater forces) to overcome the extra resistance created by the tight calf muscle. Other contributing factors include training error (e.g. too much too soon) and inappropriate foot wear.

At IONA Physiotherapy we will take a comprehensive history of your recent physical activity, along with carrying out a biomechanical assessment of your lower limbs. There are other causes of shin pain including stress fracture, compartment syndrome, referred pain etc., so a comprehensive musculoskeletal assessment is important.

Treatment for shin splints will depend on the findings in your individual assessment and may include manual therapy, massage, exercises, orthotics, advice on appropriate footwear and your training regime. It is helpful if you bring in your shoes and sports footwear with you to your first appointment.