Usually associated with runners and sports people, shin splints are a painful condition felt along the shinbone and are caused by activities that put repeated stress on the shinbone and the connective tissues that attach the muscles to the bone resulting in pain and inflammation. If you are concerned that you have a shin splint, it is important that you cease the activity immediately and seek a diagnosis and treatment.
What treatment is required?
To assist in manage your pain and recover from the injury, you may be advised to:
- Rest. It’s important to take a break from your activities for a few weeks to give your muscles and bones a chance to recover.
- Ice. Apply an ice pack several times a day.
- Pain Relief. Take anti-inflammatory pain killers like aspirin and ibuprofen.
- Low impact activities. Such as swimming, cycling or cross-training.
- Physiotherapy. Your doctor will refer you to a physiotherapist.
- Podiatrist. A podiatrist will be able to help you with selecting suitable shoes and provide orthotic support inserts to provide support, particularly if you suffer from flat feet.
How does physiotherapy help?
Your physiotherapist will be able to do a full assessment of your condition and put in place a recovery plan for you. This may include:
- Strengthening and stretching exercises to assist with pain relief and correct any biomechanical issues
- Shock wave therapy
- Massage and dry needling
- Put in place an exercise program gradually increasing in intensity over an appropriate period of time
- Instruction on how to tape your lower legs and feet prior to running.
Provided you follow your physiotherapist’s advice and stick to your recovery plan, you should fully recover.