Shin splints is a blanket term for many different pathologies that cause pain around the tibia, or shin bone. These pathologies can vary from being a serious as a tibial stress fracture, to compartment syndrome, but most commonly a condition known as medial tibial stress syndrome.
Medial tibial stress syndrome (or MTSS) is defined as pain on the inside of the shin bone that comes on during weight bearing, especially running/jumping activities. Pain will usually come on during activity, then may subside once activity is ceased, it may then persist after you have cooled down. There is still much debate about the actual cause of pain from MTSS, common theories include inflammation of the periosteum (a thin sheath of tissue which covers the bone), micro fractures in the tibia itself, inflammation or tears of the muscle fascia that connects to the bone, or a combination of the above.
The causative factors for MTSS are varied from increase in training load, under or over pronation during gait, poor or incorrect footwear, or altered joints movement due to other injuries or bony variabilities/deformities. Due to the number of variables, it is recommended that an assessment is performed by a podiatrist to diagnose the condition against the more serious conditions of tibial stress fractures or compartment syndrome, and discover the underlying causative factors.
At All Podiatry & The Shoe Co. our podiatrists do a pressure plate gait analysis plus footwear review to find out your cause, then provide a treatment pathway to get you active again. This will involve addressing the biomechanical and load issues, as well as manual therapies such as dry needling and fascial release to aid in healing then exercises to build strength.