Common shin problems

“Shin Splints”

Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome

A change in the amount or type of activity may lead to the muscles of the lower leg pulling on the lining of the tibia.

Symptoms may include pain along the front and/or inside of the shin. It may be painful to touch and vary in intensity. Pain will be present as activity begins but is likely to decrease as you warm up. Pain is generally worse in the morning and after exercise.

Stress Fracture

This is an overuse injury that occurs as a result of repeated stress to the bone causing a small fracture. This is a progression of the above condition. Pain is localised to an area along the front of the shin, but usually near the middle. It is normally constant pain that increases with exercise. The pain develops suddenly and is sharp in nature. It may be too painful to exercise and rest is essential for recovery.

Compartment Syndrome

In the lower leg there are a number of muscle compartments, where muscles contained within a lining or sheath of fascia. As a result of overuse/inflammation or a direct impact injury, these muscle compartments may become swollen and painful. Swelling within the sheath can not be dissipated and pressure results, causing ischemia (loss of blood supply) of the muscle involved causing pain. Pain is generally situated along the front and/or inside of the shin and in the muscles at the front of the lower leg. Pain usually increases as activity begins and decreases when it stops. The muscles affected may feel weak or numb. The sensation of pins and needles may also be a feature, and this can require urgent medical attention.

Treatment of the above conditions should include the RICED regime in the initial stages, but invariably will require a thorough biomechanical analysis.

At Prime Physiotherapy, we utilise state of the art biomechanical running analysis and treadmill video analysis of your running style. Correction of biomechanical problems and muscle length issues can be implemented and ensure a safe, graduated return to exercise.

Abnormal biomechanics can include overpronation, tibial malalignment e.g. bowed legs or ‘knock knees can all contribute to shin strain and pain.

Other factors can include

  • Training methods, inappropriate increases in the intensity, duration or frequency of exercise.
  • Training surfaces, running on hard surfaces or uneven ground.
  • Footwear, wearing inappropriate footwear for the activity or worn out shoes.
  • Poor flexibility, muscle imbalance or inadequate strength affecting muscles of the lower limb.