With our winter sports well and truly under way we would hope the niggly pre-season issues that seem to pop up every year would be under control. Unfortunately one condition that can and often does linger is shin splints. Shin splints or medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) is a pain along the inner edge of the tibia or shin bone which is associated with overuse and/or poor lower limb biomechanics. Shin splints often present as a slight discomfort at the commencement of training or sport and can progress to a constant severe pain.
The Most Common Causes Are:
• Overtraining or increased training without proper progression
• Training on hard surfaces
• Overpronation of the feet
• Poor mobility of the ankle and joints of the foot
• Weakness of the core and/or glutes
• Back and/or hip issues which alter lower limb biomechanics
• Incorrect footwear
Role of a Sports Chiropractor:
Just like most acute injuries shin splints can be managed with rest and ice (15-20 minutes on every 2-3 hours) usually for the first 24 – 48 hours. This is good to reduce the symptoms, but to fix the problem identifying the cause is key. A full examination including gait analysis, orthopaedic, neurological and muscle testing paired with a thorough history can be used to identify contributing factors. From here various techniques can be used to help normalise function including orthotic prescription, dry needling, strapping techniques, joint manipulation/ mobilisation, soft tissue therapies, rehabilitation and other movement/exercise therapies. Once these issues have been addressed a sport specific progressive exercise plan can be put together to allow a safe return to play.