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What's The Matter With Shin Splints?

Mobility a Step at a Time

This piece is especially personal to me. Shin Splints plagued my high school athletic career and would later ruin much of my college career in Track and Field at Boston University.

The pain in my shins would sear from the inside part of my shin towards my foot. Typically, it would start to hurt before the end of practice and continue for a while after. Icing and resting and more strengthening wasn’t the right answer. I would take some time off and get back on the road to find the pain would come back shortly after I began running.

When the amount of training was increased I paid the price. Eventually, I ended up with a stress fracture of my shins. How did this happen?

Years after my college career and into my professional career I can say this…my injury could have been prevented!

The main muscles that cause shin splint pain are the Tibialis Posterior and the Tibialis Anterior (in rare cases). Muscles are attached by connective tissue and pull on the bone. The “bone pulling” causes inflammation and low grade swelling. If the work load on the muscle and connective tissues are too great, this repetitive stress will eventually cause a stress fracture.

The resulting pain or feeling is one of a dull ache and in some instances sharp-searing pain.

So how did this all happen? In most instances our foot, hip, and knee have everything to do with this pain. How our foot hits the ground mechanically and the limitations and restrictions of our hips and knees will cause those Tibialis muscles to work harder than they need. This will create a tendonitis or inflammation of these muscles.

The excess loads endured when our foot strikes the ground are very difficult to measure, but I could only guess it’s in the hundreds to thousands of times of your body weight.

To prevent this type of injury, a couple of things can be done. First, see a PT for proper footwear instructions and a recommendation for orthotics. Second, work on the restrictions and weaknesses at your hip, knee and foot. Third, have your joint misalignments corrected by your therapist so that the stresses at the ankle and the foot are minimized.

With our hands-on technique all these solutions and methods will be presented to help you prevent and be rid of this disabling injury that can plague your everyday life, athletic career, and fun.

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