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Shin Splints (Tibial Stress Syndrome)

Symptoms:

The term shin splints denotes pain or inflammation in the anterior or medial section of the tibia. The patient presents with tenderness and pain along the border of the tibia, especially after sports activities, running or long walks. Usually the pain will settle upon resting.

Causes:

Anterior tibial stress is quite common in patients who have recently taken up running or walking (long distances). Whereas medial tibial stress is a chronic condition occurring along the inside edge of the tibia. It is usually caused by over-use in sports and athletics. Both complaints are associated with overpronation. Excessive subtalar joint pronation leads to internal tibial rotation and increased medial tractional forces upon the deep flexors and extensors of the lower leg. The tractional forces placed upon the soft tissue structures on the tibia and fibula may cause secondary periosteal swelling.

A third condition is lateral shin splints which occurs as a result of excess supination or a high forefoot valgus deformity.

Treatment:

Common treatment modalities include ice therapy, rest, deep tissue massage and exercises to stretch and strengthen the tibial muscles. Orthotics can also be effective for patients presenting with excess pronation. By correcting excessive pronation Footlogics orthotics reduce internal tibial rotation and medial tractional forces upon the anterior tibialis and posterior tibialis muscles.

In the case of lateral shin splints the patient may exhibit a forefoot valgus deformity, which will require a forefoot valgus wedge to be added to the orthotic.