Shin Splints

Foot, knee and hip pain is a common occurrence about adults. In fact, by age 20, 80% of humans have developed some type of problem, and by age 40, nearly everyone has some kind of foot condition. Your feet are the foundation of your entire body and they are under a enormous amount of pressure everyday; a slight imbalance can cause a great deal of discomfort and pain.

The term “Shin Splints” refers to a painful condition in the shin, involving inflammation of the tendons that occurs either in the front or inside section of the shin bone. In many cases shin splints are the result of an overuse injury, which means that the body has been pushed too far for too long. Another common culprit that is possible is a tiny stress fractures in the leg bone (tibia), which occur as the soft tissues pull away from the shin as a result of overuse.

A report in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that shin splints account for up to 16 percent of all injuries in runners. The condition doesn’t bother only joggers — other high-impact sports like basketball, soccer, tennis, and racquetball can also cause problems.

What do shin splints feel like?

Many people describe shin splints as a vague, aching feeling. If you have a stress fracture, the pain may be sharp and localized. Shin splints most often occur along the inside of the shin above the ankle, or along the outside of the shin below the knee. In most cases, the problem develops gradually after a few weeks or months of intense exercise, but some people can feel the pain after one especially rigorous run. A person with shin splints usually feels pain when starting a workout. The pain may fade as the exercise continues, but it often comes back with a vengeance when a person finally rests.

Common Causes of Shin Splints

Shin splints are generally caused by excessive stretching of muscles and tendons along the shin bones (tibia and fibula). Overuse of these muscles by athletes in runners is the most common factor.

Excessive pronation of the feet can also be a major contributing factor. Over-pronation causes the leg to rotate and increases the force on the muscles and ligaments in the lower leg causing a over-use type injury, even if you have not been engaging in sports.

Treatment and relief for Shin Splints

Rest and ice is required to reduce the inflammation, and therefore the pain. If you suffer from over-pronation or a heavy heel strike, an orthotics will be required to align the ankle and support the structures of the foot, ankle and leg. Changing your running surface to one that is more flexible and soft as well as a change in stride can decrease the frequency and severity of you pain; however, a stretching and strengthening the leg is required to prevent reoccurrence.

Shin Splints – The Aim of Orthotics

The aim of a shin splint foot orthotic is to correct dysfunctional biomechanics and therefore:

  • Reduce pain of shin splints.
  • Provide support for shin splints.
  • Prevent or halt the development of foot deformity that can cause shin splints.
  • Provide better positioning to help prevent shin splints.
  • Relieve pressure on a certain area of the foot.
  • Improve the overall biomechanical function of the foot and the lower limb.
  • Help prevent lower shin splints
  • Speed up rehabilitation after a shin splints injury.