It’s the bane of runners, dancers and other athletes; sharp pain along the inside of the shins, the classic sign of shin splints.
Most every athlete knows the difference between good pain and bad. Shin splints are definitely in the latter category; a warning sign that should be taken seriously. The conditions that set up shin splints can lead to other injury. That’s why it’s important to get the opinion of a professional to get moving again, safely.
What’s going on?
Shin splints can happen during or after exercise. They almost always originate in repetitive stress—why runners are prone.
The most common cause is an inflamed posterior tibial tendon, the tendon that loops around the inside of the ankle and secures the sole of the foot to the hamstring. Less common causes include stress fractures and anterior compartment syndrome, when the muscle running from the knee to the instep grows too large for the connective tissue that contains it.
Chiropractic can help
Naturally, getting back to normal activity depends on the source and severity of the problem. Generally speaking, it involves rest, ice and limiting the intensity of exercise until the pain recedes.
Since it’s a disorder of connective tissue, it responds well to the ART therapy my colleagues and I deliver at Dr. Mark Kemenosh & Associates. With shin splints, the muscles and connective tissue tend to compensate and therefore put down adhesion in order to keep up with activity. ART is very effective at loosening things up, reducing adhesions and getting tissues moving–especially the hamstrings and Achilles tendons.
Overpronation is another classic cause, when the ankle rolls inward. When that’s an issue, we can also get your shoes in order and fit orthotic insoles to help correct your gait.
Getting back to the activities you love
Typically, over the course of four or five visits, the inflammation recedes and we add strengthening exercises or physical therapy to reload the tendon correctly. With time and patience, we reintroduce athletic activity in small doses, working within the framework of an overall therapy and strengthening program.
Shin splints are a pain, for sure. But with help from the pros, they won’t keep you on the sidelines for long.