Shin Splints Aka Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) an overuse injury commonly affecting running and jumping athletes or those who increase their volume, intensity or frequency of running too quickly. The current theory for the mechanism of MTSS is the accumulation of micro-damages in the lower tibia. Specifically, the pain is the result of inflammation on the periosteum (a thin outer layer of bone) due to excessive forces being applied to it by the soleus, flexor digitorum longus and tibialis posterior muscles. The common sign for shin splints is a pain in the middle to lower third of the medial tibia, which can last for hours to days that is aggravated by running or impact-type activities.
Research suggests that shin splints respond well to exercise-based treatment with a focus on correcting running gait dysfunction to ensure the tissues are being loaded optimally during repetitive motions. To some, this may mean “retraining” the way that they run is required to resolve the injury and prevent it from happening again. Such running dysfunctions are often caused by weakness somewhere else along the kinetic chain such as the knee, hips or core. A comprehensive movement assessment performed by an exercise professional or clinician will help make these connections and provide appropriate exercises specific to the patient. Common shin splint rehab regimens will include exercises specific to foot function, and full lower extremity strength as well as the gentle introduction of plyometric-type exercises. During the rehab phase, it is often recommended to scale back on impact-type activities like running but to continue to train endurance on a bike, rowing ergometer or swimming. Laser therapy can also be very helpful during the acute phase of the injury to help manage the inflammatory response and accelerate healing. For some stubborn cases, manual muscle release, and shockwave therapy performed by a chiropractor may also be added to your rehab plan. If you would like to learn more about how shockwave and laser therapy work, check out these posts on our website. Shockwave Therapy. Laser Therapy
Unfortunately, MTSS is not the only cause of lower-tibia pain. In fact, much more sinister conditions such as exertional compartment syndrome, popliteal artery entrapment or nerve entrapment can disguise themselves as shin splints while causing potential long-term damage. That is why treatment at Total Body Health always starts with a comprehensive assessment to ensure that your injury is correctly diagnosed and, therefore, receive treatment that will address the root of your problem and get you feeling better. If you are experiencing symptoms of Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, book in with one of our Chiropractors to get started on your rehab. The team here at Total Body Health is equipped with the tools and expertise to help you get your bounce back!