Osteopathy Treats Shin Splints – Medial tibial Stress syndrome
Shin splints is a term given to pain, on the inside of the shinbone (tibia), the large bone in the front of your lower leg. Pain can vary in intensity from a mild soreness to a burning/tearing sensation Shin splints are due to overuse, where repetitive stretching forces on the key stabilising tendon of the lower leg (tibialis posterior) causing inflammation of the sheath that surrounds the tibia (known as the periostium). Over- pronation of the foot further increases demand on this muscle creating stress through the tendon which transfers to the tibia leading to inflammation of the periostium.
Shin splints are common in runners, dancers and military recruits. Pain is brought on by strenuous activity, usually in stop-start sports such as dancing, netball, squash, tennis or running too much on hard surfaces. It is also frequently the result of athletes who suddenly increase their duration or intensity of training, such as marathon runners and athletes during pre-season training sessions on hard dried up summer ground.
Shin splints are often felt during the early portion of exercise, and then symptoms reduce, only to reappear near the end of the exercise session. Shin splint pain is dull at first but with repetitive shock and trauma, the pain can become so intense that it can make exercise impossible, and cause significant disruption to training programmes and activity.
It is important point to consider with any injury is to listen to the messages from your body. If you feel any aches and pains, especially in the lower leg, don’t ignore them.
Osteopathic treatment is focused on reducing tension in the deep muscles of the leg and correcting any other mechanical problems in the lower limb as well as reducing the local inflammation along the tibia. This is achieved through biomechanical assessment leading to a diagnosis followed by application of osteopathic myofascial/soft tissue and joint mobilising techniques combined with rehabilitative advice. This aims to ensure that the underlying issues have been addressed sufficiently to help reduce the probability of any future reoccurrence of shin splints. It is a common trait of the long distance runner to ignore these signs for fear that resting will affect future goals, but think about the big picture, eventually, if left unchecked these pains may develop into a long standing problem.
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