Oh, My Aching Shins!

Posted: June 20, 2008 in physical therapy, Sports Medicine
Tags: , , ,

Football and soccer seasons are just around the corner. With that comes conditioning and

two a days which usually includes lots of running, jumping and lifting. Some will experience

“shin splints”, in addition to the many other aches and pains that occur with the

conditioning process. Many of those subside as the body adapts to the process while

others will continue and become problematic. “Shin splints” is a general term used to

describe lower leg pain. This is usually an inflammation of one of the muscle/tendons of the

 lower leg. The causes include overuse (too much, too soon), weakness/muscle imbalances

and biomechanical problems such as overpronation of the foot (excessive flattening of

foot). Because the foot and leg are going through more motion, the muscle/ tendons are

being maximally elongated at the same time they are trying to contract to control and

generate force, thereby increasing the work load and leading to pain. Treatment can be as

simple as rest, stretch and ice or if symptoms persist, physical therapy to specifically

address muscle imbalances and biomechanical faults. Often in these cases a custom

orthotic is needed due to biomechanics of the foot and LE that cause the foot to

overpronate or flatten more than normal. The orthotic helps control the excessive motion

(flattening) and improve alignment to enable the muscles/tendons to function more

efficiently. Combined with rest “appropriate” stretching and strengthening this approach

usually leads to a successful outcome. Left untreated or trying to“play” through the pain

 can lead to severe pain, stress fractures and prolonged time away from your favorite


Get Strong! Stay Strong!






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