rethinking shin splints - Medi-Dyne



rethinking shin splints - Medi-Dyne
New ideas on causes, treatment & prevention
delivers inferior stabilization and inefficient shock absorption. Over time, this
repetitive, inefficient motion creates
“shin splints”.
Calf flexibility also plays an important
role in preventing shin splints. Flexible
calf muscles will provide more “give” in
support of this motion, however, one of
the most effective things you can do is
to stop the foot from rolling. This is done
by both strengthening the muscles and
tendons which support the ankle and
providing proper arch support in both
athletic and every day shoes.
Shin Splint Prevention & Remedies
It is critical to rule out stress fractures or
other more serious causes of shin pain.
Shin splints can be easy to remedy in as
little as 5 – 10 days, but trying to “play
through the pain” is likely to make the
injury worse. Athletes must also play a
role in their treatment off the field.
Shoes that are worn out, ill-fitting or
he term shin splints encompasses a
number of disorders that present as
mild swelling, soreness or pain along or
just behind the inner edge of the tibia.
Pain typically increases during activity.
While the causes of shin splints have
been attributed to everything from running on
uneven surfaces to a Uneven surfaces or doing too much
rapid increase in activity,
too fast are often blamed for the
the true causes of shin
splints are often biomeonset of shin splints. While this may
seem to be the case, there is
such as overpronation
due to ankle inflexibility or
typically an underlying cause:
overuse/inflexibility of the
New Information, The Role of
During a normal stride, the foot’s first
function is to absorb and help dispel
shock from impact. This is followed by
pronation (rotation inward and downward) so that the foot can manage the
terrain. The ankle then flexes, allowing
the knee to move forward, while the
heel raises, and the foot supinates
allowing for the pushing action that
eventually ends with the toe-off.
Overpronation can be caused by
poorly supported arches, tightness in
the ankle, Achiles tendon, and calf, or
muscle imbalances. Without proper
arch support, the foot lands, flattens,
and the ankle overpronates. The tibia is
then forced to twist slightly in the
outward direction pulling the calf
muscles with it. This overpronation
lacking proper arch support (flip flops,
sandals, casual shoes) will exacerbate
the problem. The first line of defense
when treating shin splints should be
rest, ice, non-weightbearing exercises,
adequate stretching, and massage.
Arch Support & Shock Absorption
After rest and ice, arch supports can
play a big role in providing immediate
relief for shin splints. Proper support
helps cushion and disperse stress on
your shinbones as well as guide proper
pronation. Light-weight arch supports
with built-in heel cups, like the Tuli’s® 3/4
Gaitors®, provide light-weight shock
absorption and support in an ultra-thin
carbon fiber orthotic. These over the
counter orthotics can be worn in both
athletic and casual shoes.
Promote Circulation & Healing
Athletes often find relief from light compression. Products like the Cho-Pat® Shin
Splint Compression Sleeve™ apply
gentle support for lower legs while
promoting circulation and warmth,
which in turn controls fluid build-up and
enhances healing. Cho-Pat’s compression sleeve includes shock-absorbing
straps designed to reduce micro-trauma
and maintain proper position.
Stretch & Strengthen
Gastroc and soleus flexibility is imperative to the health of shins. By stretching
calves daily and increasing calf flexibility, the risk of injury can be reduced.
Gastroc and soleus flexibility play an
important role in maintaining ankle
flexibility and reducing the risk of Achilles
tendon tightness. The ProStretch® Plus
makes it easy for athletes to perform all
of the necessary stretches, effectively
and efficiently.
Additionally, ankle
strengthening exercises including resisted inversion, resisted eversion, resisted
plantar flexion and resisted dorsiflexion,
will help to curtail overpronation and
Finally, trigger points can cause the
tibialis anterior to be weaker, putting
extra stress on the connective muscle
fibers. Massaging can bring added relief
and flexibility. A RangeRoller®’s unique
design allows athletes to use both the
TriggerTreads™ for increasing circulation
as well as the handle end points for
trigger point release. For increased
circulation and performance, consider
massaging the lateral head of the
gastroc, back mid-calf at the muscle
/tendon juncture, posterior tibialis, and
the lower leg along the sides of the tibia.
Using these 2Steps™ Solutions for immediate relief and long-term healing,
athletes suffering from shin splints should
be back in the game quickly.
On-line stretching videos and downloadable materials are available in the
2Steps Solutions Guide to Injury Prevention and Recovery.
Free to T & C magazine subscribers.
Email requests to:
[email protected]