Shin Splints

Why do my shins hurt when I run?

The term “Shin Splints” is probably something you’ve heard thrown around the footy club whenever someone complains of pain in the shins/calves, especially during preseason. "Shin Splints" is an umbrella term for pain in the shin, particularly along the border of the tibia.  This type of pain can come from several different issues and without getting on top of it quickly, can progress into something more serious, like a stress fracture. It can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you’re out enjoying a run and finding yourself needing to walk home halfway. Don’t stress, we can make a huge difference to your pain, so it doesn’t get to this point!

People with shin splints tend to complain of pain coming on during exercise and can also find their shins sore to the touch. Sometimes the pain can last after you stop exercising/playing sport, it can even feel like your legs are throbbing. You may also notice mild swelling which comes about after heavy exercise.

So, now we know what shin splints feel like, you’re probably wondering what causes the pain...

The short answer is…lots of things! The longer answer is more complex. This is because shin splints really are caused by many different factors. Some things that contribute to shin pain are poor running technique, unsupportive footwear (especially if they’re your sport shoes), running/sport on hard surfaces, and more…

One of the biggest causes of shin splints is a sudden change or increase in how much activity you’re getting up to. Why would jumping back into training be painful though? It’s because the strain on the muscles and connective tissues in your shin can become inflamed when they haven’t been used to the current/new intensity of training. After having the summer off running, your legs get a shock once you dive back into it. Short calves, stiff ankles and high intensity training can all impact this too.

How can Physiotherapy help?

The best way to manage shin splints is to consult a physiotherapist for advice on exercise/activity, pain relief and management strategies. First, we must find out why YOUR pain has started so we can make sure we hit the right target for your rehab. We will help you control your pain, then we can help you learn how to make sure the pain doesn’t come back in the future!

So, how can we help:

  • Soft tissue massage to improve your comfort and flexibility in the ankle
  • Dry needling can be used to address any trigger points contributing to your pain
  • Manual therapy/Joint mobilisations to improve ankle range of motion and therefore, improve running patterns
  • Provide you with an individualised, progressive strengthening program to ensure your pain resolves and is manageable into the future
  • Discuss training load management, and work with you to ensure your activity levels are appropriately managed

Why wait! Book your assessment with our trusted physiotherapists

If this sounds like the situation you are in, feel free to give us a call at Swan Physiotherapy (08 9274 6711) to discuss your circumstance or book online.  We would be happy to have you in for an assessment to see what is going on and if physiotherapy can help you!


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