A common complaint from athletes and in particular runners, is shin pain.
The most notable term used to describe pain along the shin, is ‘shin splints,’ but what exactly is shin splints?
With repetitive loading of the leg, ground reaction forces are transferred from the foot up the tibia. The bones and muscles of the foot and lower leg are designed to absorb these forces as they are transferred up the leg. However, inappropriate footwear, hard surfaces, excessively flat feet or excessively high arches, tight muscles and weak muscles can lead to inefficient transfer of load and excessive strain on the tibia. With repeated stress this can even lead to a weakening of the bone and ultimate stress fracture. Other associated injuries may include periostitis, which is an inflammation of the protective covering of the bone, muscle strains, and compartment syndrome, a potentially serious condition involving an increase in pressure within the enclosed fibro-osseous space which may compress the blood vessels and nerves that supply the lower leg.
The cause of stress to the tibia is often varied and complex. A thorough assessment of the position of the foot, footwear, muscle length, strength and activation as well as analysis of running technique is imperative to determining the cause of symptoms which will then guide your therapist towards the most appropriate rehabilitation for you as an individual.
If you are experiencing pain along the tibia contact your Physiohealth practitioner to ensure that you receive the correct treatment for your condition.