Shin splints is the general name given to pain at the front of the lower leg. Shin splints is not a diagnosis in itself but a description of symptoms of which there could be a number of causes. The most common cause is inflammation of the periostium of the tibia (sheath surrounding the bone). Traction forces occur from the muscles of the lower leg on the periostium causing shin pain and inflammation. It is often caused by running or jumping, and may be very slow to heal. Formal medical terms include medial tibial syndrome, medial tibial stress syndrome and stress-related anterior lower leg pain.
One cause is overused muscle either an acute injury or DOMS(delayed-onset muscle soreness). The muscle pain is caused by any activity that involves running, jumping, also sometimes even walking, swimming or playing basketball. An individual not accustomed to running may experience pain in the shin muscles the next day even after a single, short bout of intensive running. The purpose of muscle of posterior shin(tibialis posterior) is to plantarflex the foot (bend the foot upwards at the ankle). It may not be obvious why a muscle which raises the toe can be stressed or injured by running, given that it is not responsible for propulsion. The reason is that unskilled runners overstride, and land heavily on the heel with each footstrike. When this happens, the forefoot rapidly slaps down to the ground. Effectively, the foot, which is dorsiflexed prior to making contact with the ground, is forcefully plantarflexed. This forceful plantar flexion of the foot causes a corresponding rapid stretch in the attached muscles. A reflex in the muscles responds, causing a powerful contraction. It is this eccentric contraction which leads to muscle soreness and possible injury to the muscle, tendon or connective tissue.
In a similar way, improper probation of the foot during the footstrike can also cause pain in the muscles which oppose pronation, on the inside or outside of the shin.
Shin pain may also be the result of inflammation of connective tissue such as periosteum (periostitis). The pain may be caused by a stress fracture in the bone or some other problem like osteosarcoma. Pain in the lower leg may also be referred from a distant area of the body, such as pressure on the sciatic nerve (sciatica) which lies in the posterior thigh.
A problem which can mimic posterior shin splints is chronic compartment syndrome(CCS). This is a serious problem which can lead to significant loss of function in the lower leg. CCS occurs when swelling within the indistensible anterior compartment of the leg reduces blood flow. This relative lack of blood,ischaemia , can cause more swelling and generate a positive feedback loop. In severe cases the result can be acute compartment syndrome (ACS) which requires emergency surgery to prevent ischemic muscle necrosis, muscle death due to lack of blood.
PHYSIOLINE’S SPECIALIZED PHYSIOTHERAPY HAS VITAL ROLE TO PLAY
At Physioline, all the members of the rehabilitation team work together so as to provide proper care and the therapy in order to:
Shock absorbing insoles
Shock absorbing insoles can help reduce the shock and impact transmitted through the foot to the lower leg, particularly when running on hard surfaces for long periods of time.)
Orthotic insoles are firm insoles designed to correct biomechanical dysfunction such as over pronation. They will usually have strong arch support
Shin and calf supports
Shin and calf supports can provide compression and support for the lower leg and retain the bodies natural heat.
A slant board is a simple but effectrive device which helps with accurate and progressive stretching of the calf muscles. Buy slant board
Sports Strapping Tape
Zinc oxide sports tape is excellent for applying a simple taping technique.
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