Shin pain is an extremely common complain amongst athletes. The term ‘shin splints’ has been used in the past to describe the pain along the medial border of the shin commonly experienced by runners.
Shin pain generally involves one or more of three pathological processes. Bone Stress; Inflammation; Raised intracompartment pressure. These three abnormalities can usually be distinguished on the basis of history examination and investigation, all of which your podiatrist can help you with. It is important to remember that two or three of these conditions may exist together.
One of the major causes of all three injuries is abnormal biomechanics, which is where we as podiatrist come to the forefront of treatment. Shin pain occurs in athletes with both extremes of foot type. A rigid, high arched foot has limited shock attenuation, thus increasing the impact pressure on the bone.
In athletes with excessively pronated feet, the muscles of the superficial and deep compartments are required to contract harder and longer eccentrically to resist pronation after heel strike. On toe off, they then work hard concentrically to accelerate supination, with fatigue these muscles fail to provide the normal degree of shock absorption. This mechanism may lead to the development of a stress fracture or periostitis and will exacerbate the tendency to develop compartments syndromes. An athlete with excessive pronation has a tendency to develop lateral shin pain, especially when pronation occurs during toe-off.
Tight calf muscles, which commonly occur as a result of hard training, will restrict ankle dorsiflexion and increase tendency for excessive pronation, leading to increased rotation of the tibia.
As Podiatrist we treat these conditions mentioned above by examining and undertaking a full biomechanical and gait assessment with our silicon coach gait assessment technology, and can correct any biomechanical imbalances with use of orthotics and often footwear changes. Also sending you off for any scans you may require. In the short term we can also help by reducing the tightness with the legs and healing the areas with massage, dry needling and various taping techniques, rehab and exercise programs for so you can make a successful return to your activity.