Shin Splints (medial tibial stress syndrome)

Shin splints are one of the most common problems in the lower leg in people who exercise or play sports

Shin splints is the name given to exercise-induced pain in the front of the lower leg, between the knee and the ankle. Shin splints are also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS).

Shin splints is a general term to describe a number of different, potential pathologies.

With any pain the most important starting place is obtaining a confirmed diagnosis from an experienced health professional. Any pain of sudden and severe onset must be investigated urgently by your podiatrist or medical professional.

The most common presentation of shin splints is over the inner (medial) part of the shin.

Symptoms over the front (anterior) or outer (lateral) part of your shin may not be due to shin splints and may be due to a compartment syndrome in the leg.

Shin Splints (MTSS) is caused by overuse and often occurs in runners.

Risk factors for Shin Splints include:

  • A sudden increase in training frequency or intensity.
  • Hard running surfaces.
  • Running up an incline
  • Previous leg injury.
  • Poorly fitted or inadequate running shoes.
  • Various problems with the biomechanics of the the lower leg and foot.

Management of Shin Splints

  • Rest - this means avoiding any activity, such as running, that may have led to the shin splints.
  • Ice - applying ice to the shin and raising your leg may help to relieve pain from shin splints.
  • Elevation of the leg aims to limit and reduce any swelling. Keep the foot up on a chair to at least hip level.
  • Painkillers or anti-inflammatory medication may be useful to relieve pain and may also limit inflammation and swelling.

With rest and treatment, you can fully recover from shin splints. However, they may return if the original cause is not well managed.

A specialist such as a sports physiotherapist or a podiatrist is able to assess your biomechanics and function which may highlight factors that have contributed to the development of shin splints.

They will also be able to help you modify your exercise programme and may suggest the insertion of an insole inside your shoes.

Prevention of shin splints

  • The use of shock-absorbent insoles inside shoes while you are exercising may be helpful.
  • Orthotics to manage abnormal foot function may also be helpful.
  • Running and functional re-training can alter the forces transmitted to the shins.
  • Regular replacement of running shoes is important.
  • Graduated running programmes that build in rest days may also help.

Formthotics can help relieve the symptoms and prevent reoccurrence of shin splints

Formthotics support the structures of the foot to encourage optimal function and even pressure distribution. In doing this they reduce fatigue, increase shock absorption and reduce pain.

Formthotics dual density products add a cushioning layer on top of the supportive structure of Formthotics. The Formax™ dual density foam provides increased shock absorption and even pressure distribution while maintaining a good level of support to optimise foot function and general comfort.

Formthotics can provide the ideal base to support and distribute loading in people with arch pain. A number of Formthotics Medical options allow your podiatrist to select Formthotics best for your feet, footwear and activity. Your Formthotics are then able to be customised by your podiatrist specifically for your needs.

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