Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, or Shin Splints, is a condition where the muscles and tissues that attach to the shin bone, or tibia, become inflamed due to repetitive stress. Shin splints occur with sudden increases of activity and improper training during running and athletics. This may also occur in individuals who pronate excessively, where the arches of their feet flatten with weight bearing. With overpronation, muscles in the foot and lower leg are unable to work efficiently and more shock is transmitted to the bone. This can lead to mechanical problems over time. Shin splints are common in runners and dancers, who often perform high-intensity training.
- Soreness and pain in lower shin area that increases during activity
- Swelling in the lower shin
TREATMENT WITH PHYSICAL THERAPY
Physical therapy treatment for shin splints will include modalities like ice or ultrasound to decrease pain and inflammation. In the initial session, your therapist will do a thorough functional assessment of your lower extremity to check for biomechanical abnormalities, such as over pronation or knee/ hip alignment issues. If pain was caused by running, orthotics or different type of shoes may be recommended. You will be advised to avoid high impact and rigorous activities until your pain level improves.
In the beginning of therapy, you will start gentle stretches and range of motion exercises. Once inflammation has subsided, strengthening exercises for the muscles of the ankle, knee, and hip will be added to your program. Depending on your goals, your therapist will devise a tailored program that will allow you to gradually return to your sport or activity without pain.