When you experience pain that shoots down the front of the lower leg, or the shin bone (tibia), it is known as “shin splints.” Athletes are susceptible to shin splints, so in our Asheville, NC office, we often implement physical therapy for shin splints. Let’s go over a few things to consider about this condition, why it occurs and how visiting a physical therapist could help.

Overuse of muscles, tendons, and bone tissue can cause shin splints, a condition common in athletes who have recently changed or increased their training. It is caused by increased activity.

Rest, ice, and other self-care methods can usually alleviate shin splints. Shin splints can be avoided by wearing suitable footwear and changing your exercise program.

Symptoms

When you have shin splints, you may feel pain, soreness, or tenderness on the inner aspect of your shinbone, in addition to mild swelling in your lower leg. When you stop exercising, the pain may initially disappear. However, chronic pain may result over time, resulting in a stress reaction or stress fracture.

When should you see a doctor?

If rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medicines don’t help your shin pain, see your doctor.

Causes

Repetitive tension on the shinbone and the connective tissues that link your muscles to the bone causes shin splints.

High Risk Factors

Shin Splints are more common if you:

  • Are a runner, especially one who is just starting out.

  • You abruptly increase the length, frequency, or intensity of your workout.

  • You run on rough terrains like hills or hard surfaces like concrete.

  • You’re in military boot camp.

  • You have high arches or flat feet.

Prevention

To avoid shin splints, do the following:

  • Examine your actions. A rigorous video examination of your running technique can aid in the identification of movement patterns that can cause shin splints. A small tweak in your running routine can often help reduce your risk.

  • Avoid going overboard. Running or other high-impact activities performed for an extended period of time at a high intensity can overwork the shins.

  • Choose the appropriate footwear. Replace your running shoes every 350 to 500 miles if you’re a runner (560 to 800 kilometers).

  • Think about arch supports. Shin splints can be relieved by arch supports, especially if your arches are flat.

  • Consider wearing insoles that absorb shock. They may help to alleviate shin splint symptoms and prevent them from recurring.

  • Reduce the effect. Cross-train with a sport that is gentler on your shins, such as swimming, walking, or bicycling. Remember to ease into new activities. Gradually increase the time and intensity.

  • Include strength training in your routine. Leg, ankle, hip, and core strengthening and stabilization exercises can help your legs prepare for high-impact sports.Here are seven ways a physical therapist can help with shin splint pain and symptoms:

The RICE concept is the first step in the recovery process (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Kinesiotaping and manual therapy may also help speed up recovery and minimize edema.

Physical Therapy for Shin Splints

If you are experiencing pain and would like to see a physical therapist in the Asheville, NC area, CONTACT us here at 1on1 Physical Therapy TODAY! (828) 785-8388

Here’s how we could help!

  • Gait and Footwear Analysis: A thorough examination of how a person walks and runs is a critical component of treatment. The improper walking mechanism can transfer a lot of force from the shin to the knee and hip. Physical therapists will modify walking patterns and propose shock-absorbing footwear in such cases, and in some cases implement Gait Training.

  • Muscle Stretching and Strengthening: The tibial and peroneal muscles are related to the shin and must be stretched sufficiently before engaging in any type of exercise. Physical treatment may include a variety of foot stretches to stretch and warm up these muscles. Damaged muscles can also be strengthened.

  • Activity Modification: Physical therapists may recommend other activities to reduce shinbone stress. Swimming and cycling are two examples.

  • Exercises that are focused on the hip, knee, ankle, and foot increase range of motion (ROM), which helps to improve blood circulation, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain. You might also start an exercise routine at home.

  • Shin splints can be caused by the absence or collapse of a normal foot arch. Physical therapists would propose custom-made orthotics that give the optimum amount of arch support.

  • Return to Sport: If you’re an athlete, your therapist may design workouts that target the areas that need to be strengthened for your sport. Muscle modification may also be discussed and implemented. To avoid re-injury, return to your sport gradually.

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