Shin splints can be frustrating for new and experienced runners. They are not something that are easy to run through. So what causes shin splints and how do we treat them?
What Are Shin Splints?
Also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, shin splints present as a pain along the inside of the shin. A slight variation of shin splints will present as pain toward the outer edge of the shin. It happens when one of the muscles that attaches to the shin are overused and pulls away from the bone. This causes tenderness along the shin bone and pain that increases with activity.
Why It Happens
Shin splints develop when too much stress is placed on the muscle that attaches to the shin. The bone itself can become irritated as well. How exactly does this happen? Well it can be for a number of reasons, but typically it is due to poor running form and/or too much running volume. Some faults in running form include overstriding, crossover, and overpronation.
How To Fix It
Rather than only treating the symptoms, the root cause needs to be addressed. As noted previously, most cases are caused by poor running form or too much running volume. It is important to analyze running form and address any faults. Also, we can look at average weekly mileage and make sure that there are not large spikes from week to week. To achieve long term relief and reduce the risk of developing shin splints, these root causes need to be addressed. At Limitless Performance Physical Therapy we do a head to toe assessment, looking at range of motion, strength, balance, and running form.
Exercises for Pain Relief
While you wait to get assessed by a physical therapist, here are some to provide some relief. Remember, these are not a cure, the root cause needs to be addressed for long term relief.
Shin Roll Out
Calf Raise w/ Ball Squeeze
Banded Ankle Dorsiflexion
Stop struggling with running injuries and get the help you need to stay active and pain free. At Limitless Performance Physical Therapy, we don’t take a cookie cutter approach. Each visit is personalized to focus on your needs to get you out of pain and back to your favorite activity!