Like most running injuries, shin splints is often caused by overuse. Also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, shin pain can also result from worn out running shoes, poor running form such as heel striking, flat feet, high arches, weak dorsi flexors, or over pronation. Anatomical causes can be identified with a body alignment analysis and can be corrected.
A more serious injury that may be confused with shin splints and must be ruled out before treatment is a stress fracture, an incomplete crack in the bone. If not properly identified it can worsen with continued impact to the point that an actual fracture occurs. Shin splints pain is more generalized than that of a stress fracture. A sign it may be a stress fracture is a definite spot of sharp pain when pressing your fingertips along your shin. A stress fracture often feels better in the morning because the bone has rested all night; shin splints often feel worse in the morning because the soft tissue tightens overnight. Shin splints is also more painful when you try to lift your foot up at the ankle and flex your foot.
Pain on the outside of the lower leg may be a rare condition called Compartment Syndrome, a swelling of muscles within a closed compartment, which creates pressure. The main symptom is a deep ache in the lower leg that progresses rapidly to be quite debilitating.
Shin splints often plagues runners who build mileage too quickly, or switch from running on flat surfaces to hills. If you are experiencing shin pain, avoid hills and excessively hard surfaces until the pain goes away completely, then re-introduce them gradually to prevent recurrence. If you run on roads with an obvious camber, switch sides of the road. Find the correct running shoes for your foot. Overpronators should wear motion-control shoes, severe overpronators may need orthotics. Alternate between two pairs of shoes to vary the stress on your legs. Stretch your calves and achilles regularly as a preventive measure.
Active Release Technique® (ART) is very successful in treating shin splints. A trained ART® specialist locates the specific tissues that are restricted and physically works them back to normal texture, tension, and length by using various soft tissue manipulation methods. Active Release Technique® and Graston Technique® speed the healing process by restoring the connective tissues and muscles back to healthy and functional levels, giving you increased strength and mobility which leads to improved performance.
Jonas Chiropractic Sports Injury Care has the most modern state of the art 3D body view scan, which can determine the stability index in each individual. The index is used to make a custom fit orthotic. These orthotics are designed based upon the stability index, which indicates loss of arch in the foot, and may help relieve shin splints. Many times a combination of correct orthotics with Active Release Technique, Graston Technique and Cold Laser Treatment are very successful at treating shin splints.
The techniques and therapy provided by Jonas Chiropractic Sports Injury Care are natural and non-invasive and have successfully helped many athletes come back faster from injury.