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Other names for Shin Splints are Medial Tibial Tenoperiostitis, Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, Tenoperiostitis of the Shin, Inflammatory Shin Pain, Traction Periostitis and Posterior Shin Splint Syndrome.

What actually are shin splints?
Shin Splints are a condition which is characterized by damage and inflammation of the connective tissue joining muscles to the tibia or inner shin bone.
There are several muscles which lie at the back of your lower leg and the group is known as the calf muscles. Several of these muscles lie deep within the calf and attach to the inner border of the shin bone. The connective tissue which is responsible for attaching these muscles to the tibia is known as the Tenoperiosteum. When the calf muscles contract, it puts tension on the tenoperiosteum. If this tension is forceful and repetitive, damage to the connective tissue occurs. This causes inflammation and pain. This persistent pain is known as medial tibial tenoperiostitis, commonly referred to as shin splints.

Medial tibial tenoperiostitis can sometimes occur in combination with other pathologies that cause shin pain such as compartment syndrome and tibial stress fractures.

What causes shin splints?
Shin splints are most commonly caused by repetitive or prolonged activities placing strain on the connective tissue. This mainly occurs due to excessive walking, running and jumping exercises and activities, like an increase in training or running. Shin Splints are often seen in runners and footballers. It often occurs in association with calf muscle tension and biomechanical abnormalities. Excessive pronation (ankles rolled inwards) or supination (high arches) are the main contributing factors. Also inappropriate footwear will cause major problems. Athletes commonly develop this condition following a period of reduced activity and when training surfaces are much harder.

What are the signs and symptoms of shin splints?
Persons with shin splints usually experience pain along the inner border of the shin. In less severe circumstances, people may only experience an ache or stiffness along the inner aspect of the shin. This can increase with rest. The pain associated with this condition may reduce after warming up with activity in the initial stages of injury. Later on as the condition progresses, athletes may feel symptoms that increase during sports or activities. In severe cases, patients may even walk with a limp that improves as the person warms up.

People with these Shin Splints typically experience pain when palpating the inner border of the shin bone especially along the lower third of the shin bone. Regions of muscle tightness, thickening or lumps may also be felt where there is pain. In more severe cases, swelling, redness and warmth may also occur.

How long will it take for me to recover from Shin Splints?
Most people with Shin Splints heal well with good treatment. Recovery time may range from a few weeks to many months depending on the severity of injury. It also depends how long the injury has been affecting you. People who have had shin splints for months may require a considerable period of treatment associated with reduced activity to achieve full recovery.

Other Contributing factors to the development of shin splints
• inadequate warm up
• calf muscle weakness or tension
• tightness in specific joints especially the ankle
• weak lower limb biomechanics
• poor training technique and methods
• hips are not level, leg length differences, scoliosis
• poor balance
• overweight
• weak core stability

Therapy for shin splints
• deep tissue massage (particularly to the calf muscles)
• joint mobilization
• PNF stretches
• arch support taping
• orthotics
• the use of crutches
• biomechanical correction
• ice or heat treatment
• orthotics

Exercise for shin splints - Calf Stretch with a Towel
Begin this stretch in long sitting with the leg to be stretched in front of you. Your knee and back is straight and a towel placed around your foot). By moving your foot, ankle and the towel, bring your toes towards your head until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf, Achilles or your leg. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times at a mild to moderate stretch provided the exercise is not painful.

Products to aid with Shin Splints include:
• Ice Packs or Heat Packs
• Resistance Band for stretching
• Wedges for the heel
• Rocker board (to improve balance)
• Massage Balls & Foam Roller
• Orthotics from the Podiatrist
• Sports Tape for arch support taping
• Crutches


Book your Massage or Remedial Massage by ringing Cheryl Young and Graham Honeyman at Rainbow Bay Massage on 0419609232 in Tweed Heads Coolangatta Gold Coast
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