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from Meg Barton
Updated On: Dec 05, 2006

SHIN SPLINT

Meg Barton, MS ATC/L CSCS

St. Joseph’s/Candler Sports Medicine

Certified Athletic Trainer

DEFINITION:  “Shin Splint” is an inadequate and misleading terminology applied to a

dull aching pain experienced along the front side of the lower leg.

 

ANATOMICAL POSSIBILITIES FOR “SHIN SPLINT”:

 

1.)    An irritation or tearing of the interosseous membrane ( the soft tissue between

The lower leg bones).

 

2.)    Irritation of the muscles directly attached to the lower leg bones resulting in

Inflammation along the edge of those bones (periostitis).

 

3.)    Poor circulation of the lower leg.

 

4.)    Breakdown of the arches.

 

5.)    Pronation of feet.

 

PHYSICAL CAUSES FOR “SHIN SPLINTS”:

1.)    Shoes—

a.)    worn out

b.)    not enough arch support

c.)    not enough heel cushion

 

2.)    Running the same direction every day.

 

3.)    Running on hard surfaces.

 

4.)    Always running in the inside lane of the track.

 

5.)    Lower leg muscle imbalance.

 

6.)    Lack of ROM and flexibility.

 

7.)    Unconditioned for event.

 

TREATMENT:

 

1.)    Ice—15-20 minutes every two hours as able throughout the day.

2.)    Tape

3.)    Rest

4.)    Achilles flexibility exercises using either a belt, standing stretches or tilt box.

5.)    Exercises—12-15 reps, 3 sets, preferably 2-3 times per day:

a.)    Dorsiflexion--  starting with no weights, progressing to manual resistance

theraband and/or weights. 

b.)    Towel curls

c.)    Marble pick-ups

d.)    Coke bottle rolls

e.)    Alphabet

f.)     Overall lower leg strength as needed

 

6.)    Alternate training during the injury:

a.)    swimming

b.)    cycling-indoors or out

 

7.)    Important to stay away from high heeled shoes or boots as to take stress

off the lower legs from walking on an forward position on the toes/balls

off the feet.

 

            8.)  Arch supports or shock absorbency inserts may be needed and helpful.                 


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