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How to Fix Shin Splints

We’ve all been there. It’s January, the evenings are still dark, the weather is getting more Irish, and despite yourself, you have managed to drag yourself away from the couch and get out for a run, only to be stopped in your tracks by a burning pain in your shins. The dreaded shin splints! 

Here, Shane Brennan, chartered physiotherapist at Mid West Physiotherapy with a clinical interest in foot disorders, explains what is causing your shin splint pain and – more importantly – what you can do to get rid of it!

 

What are shin splints?  

Shin Splints – or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome to give it its fancy physio title – is exercise-induced pain along the front of your tibia (your shin bone). It is usually brought on by running. 

 

Why do my shins hurt? 

Shin Splints come about because of overload on previously healthy bone. Normally when we run or jump, our bones come under some normal stress, which kickstarts a recovery process that makes our bones stronger. Unfortunately, with shin splints, we believe that this recovery process doesn’t kickstart, and our tibia comes under stress but doesn’t really recover the way they should. There are several risk factors which can lead to us developing shin splints. 

 

What are the risk factors? 

The biggest risk factor for shin splints is a high training load, but there are others; having flat feet, higher BMI and weakness in the muscles in your legs can all contribute to your pain. The good news is that it can all be treated with simple physiotherapy interventions! 

 

What can I do today to make it better? 

  1. Apply ice to the affected area.
  2. You can continue to do exercises that don’t aggravate your shin – now might be the time to dust off that old exercise bike in the shed. Swimming & walking are also great options.
  3. Call your physiotherapist and make an appointment to be assessed. 

 

Will I have to give up running because of my shin splints?

In short? No! A short break may be needed, while you and your physio work on reducing your risk factors, but once that’s done, your physiotherapist will be able to create a rehab program to help get you back pounding the pavements again! 

 

Can I book an appointment with you?

Yes! If you would like us to assess your shin pain and give you a tailored recovery plan, you can book an appointment with us online, or your can contact our Reception by ringing 061-201444 or emailing info@midwestphysio.ie.

 

References

  1. References: Winters, M. (2020) ‘The diagnosis and management of medial tibial stress syndrome: An evidence update 
  2. Winters, M. (2018) ‘Medial tibial stress syndrome: diagnosis, treatment and outcome assessment (PhD Academy Award)’,Br J Sports Med,52(18), pp. 1213-1214. 
  3. Menéndez, C., et al.(2020) ‘Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome in Novice and Recreational Runners: A SystematicReview’,Int J Environ Res Public Health,17(20). 
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