Shin splits Vancouver physiotherapy

Shin Splints

The tibia which is also known as the shinbone has a big job: it helps to support us when we walk, jump or run! The shinbone is the large bone in the front of the lower leg and if repetitive stress occurs here or its connective tissue which attach to the muscles to the bone this will when pain can develop. When this area is overworked, an intense pain can develop which is called a shin splint.  This pain can be described in different areas such as the front, back inside or outside of the lower leg.  It is of great importance to treat this condition early on, because long term issues can develop such as stress fractures in the tibia or the pain associated with the condition can at times feel unbearable.  Shin splints at times can take some time to resolve and will very likely cause a delay in regular desired activities. 

What are the symptoms of shin splints?

  • Most people would describe it as pain on the front part of their lower leg and at times and swelling can be present.  When running, when the heel touches the ground is when the pain is felt as the foot hits the ground
  • The area can feel painful to touch
  • The pain can be felt inside as well, this is in the lower area of the leg above the ankle
  • The pain can get worse when rolling the ankle inwards
  • The pain can also get worse when standing on the toes

Risk Factors of Shin Splints:

  • Flattening of the arch of the foot or over pro-nation when walking, running or even while standing
  • Have a high BMI
  • Using an excessive hip motion
  • Repetitive jumpers or long distance runners 
  • Having a past running injury or issue
  • Sudden increase in duration, frequency or intensity of a workout
  • Running for a long distance on an uneven terrain

Prevention of Shin Splints

  • If being flat-footed is an issue, wear well-padded shoes
  • Make sure to warm up joints before a vigorous workout
  • Wear proper clothing to ensure your body is kept warm if the temperature is cold
  • Try to avoid running on concrete for long periods of time
  • Lose excess weight to relieve stress on your lower legs
  • If you feel any pain is felt during the workout, immediately halt it 
  • Wear shock-absorbing footwear
  • Avoid overdoing a workout, always ensure the increase is gradual with workout plans
  • Long distance runners will need to change their shoes at a higher frequency

How are Shin Splints diagnosed?

A full assessment from a rehabilitation practitioner such as ourselves can help diagnose this issue and imagining is not always necessary to diagnose a shin splint.  A physiotherapist will gather the pertinent information in the initial assessment to determine if this is the root issue and not another condition.  During the new assessment intake, the lower leg may be palpated gently with some pressure on the shin area and other appropriate assessments of the area.  

Shin Splint treatment

  • Icing the area
  • Allowing area to rest
  • Massage of above and below area of pain
  • Setting up with proper well-padded footwear
  • Determining muscle stretches for upper and lower legs
  • Helping to strengthen upper and lower legs to ensure future injury doesn’t happen
  • Reduce load and stress to the area during physical activity

How can we at VanCity Physio help?  

We can determine the root cause of why your shin splint has occurred which in turn can prevent further injury and pain. We can send home proper warm up exercises before long runs or repetitive exercises.  We can also help to strengthen the upper and lower leg areas to help prevent future issues from developing. It is highly imperative to book in at the first sign of pain, so the injury doesn’t further develop—We want it assessed and diagnosed sooner to start treatment earlier on before further issues or to ensure the likelihood of a fracture to develop does not occur.