Are You Suffering Shin Splints?
written by Natalie Rinaldi
Shin splints are a common injury a lot of people suffer from. The worst part about them is it doesn’t take much for them to become sore, inflamed and painful. Shin splints happen when inflammation is present in the muscles, tendons and tissue around the tibia or commonly known as the shin bone. This inflammation can occur for one of many reasons, some being;
- Recent or previous injury to the shin, calve, knee or ankle.
- Recent change in gait -compensation for possible injury in opposite leg, causing sore shin to be working harder.
- Orthotics which have changed the natural shape of the foot, causing excessive stress on calve muscles.
- Hard heel striking (eg, soccer or football players on a hard field, runners on hard surface)
- Tight musculature in the ankle, shin, calve, hamstring and quadriceps area causing a pulling around the shin bone.
The good thing is, there are ways to reduce the inflammation thus decreasing the pain and discomfort. For some people, temporary tools of relief is all they need to reduce the inflammation, things such as applying ice immediately when felt, and taking anti-inflammatory medication for the first 24-28 hours both help to reduce the inflammation and help you become pain free.
However, for some people who are prone to quite severe shin splints, or participate in a lot of activities where the shin splints flare up quite quickly, we are Melbourne Muscular Therapy will be able to help you!
How we deal with shin splints at MMT
First of all, we want to assess the way your lower body works, test the ankle, knee and hip joints to look for decreased movement and muscles that may be hypertonic- creating excess stress to that anterior shin. Ankle ROM is most important here, as if your ankle is lacking mobility, your gait will not be correct, which is one of the most common causes of shin pain. We may go through a few ankle mobility tests to check for this.
Our second and most important step to preventing shin splints from flaring up is CLEANING! We need to clean out the area. When we say clean, we talk about melting away all that is built up in and around firstly the shin and tibia, from knee to ankle and then move right along to the posterior calve and clean between all of the musculature. It is important that we clean with our Solidified Connective Tissue hands on technique as this technique is what will break down the build-up between all of the shins bone, muscle and tendons and their attachment areas. This technique allows us to work quite deep, so we cover not only the superficial layers of the shin but can get right down deep into muscle bellies, break through layers of tissue and get behind shin bones. This cleaning will remove any blockages that are present, and that are stopping the muscle from contracting, thus causing that reduced movement and inflaming the area! We also will use this technique combined with a positional release around the ankle, to clean out the ankle joint. The ankle, is an extremely common area for build-up, as it is one of the biggest areas of injury in the body; ankle rolls, jarring, locking, swelling, change of foot wear daily, pain occurs weekly in each individual and all of this leaves behind small fragments, which decrease ankle movement and block areas in the joint, causing the human gait to be affected and then affecting every other muscle and joint structure in the body upwards.
Strengthen The Legs and Feet!
After we have sufficiently cleaned the area, and we feel there is no more to clean out, we then work on building the the body as one whole system. Whether it’s lack of ankle range or poor stability in the foot, causing excess stress on the shin or poor calve activation, making the anterior shin to work harder, we will help fix the dysfunction that’s causing the shin splints to occur in the first place! We love to fix dysfunction at Melbourne Muscular Therapies and pride ourselves on fixing each and every client we see. Giving our clients exercises whether it is for strength or flexibility or stability, we do this so their pain can decrease and we can work on building the area of the body that has pain. What is great about these exercises is that they are holistic and aim to correct/strengthen the system as a whole, rather than focusing the rehab on one particular part of the body itself. The exercises will eliminate the dysfunction and help to avoid the inflammation, in this case, shin splints from occurring!
If you suffer from regular shin splints, come in and see us at Melbourne Muscular Therapies!