Shin Pain? Shin Splints and Running

Have you started beating the feet to get in shape for summer? Or to shed that winter insulation? The trouble is when you start to pound the pavement (even if you are a seasoned runner) shin splints can really slow you down and throw you off your game.

Are Shin Splints Interrupting Your Exercise Efforts?

We all know the secret to getting and keeping fit is being consistent. So, the last thing we want is to stop running because of sore legs. Once this happens it becomes a downward spiral to losing the fitness you have worked so hard to build up.

Stops You From Being Active

Being in pain is not nice, and pain from shin splints can be totally debilitating. It stops you from getting out there, playing sports and enjoying the things you love.  It can even make you question taking a short walk, or being active with the kids.

The Cost of Shin Splints

So you get less exercise, which leads to lethargy, and the weight can start to pile on. Or you end up spending money on painkillers to help overcome the pain and allow you to continue running and this can exacerbate the problem.

Who Do You See When You Have Shin Splints?

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A podiatrist? A chiropractor? A physio? This is a really common question our receptionist’s field each day. After all, it could be caused by any number of things, e.g. your shoes, your posture, or your running stride.  

Don’t worry, you are not alone. We have a trained team of podiatrists who can take a look at your shins, your shoes and get to the bottom of the problem so you can get back in fine form for running again.

Here is how the appointments usually work:

  • Step One – Discovery  – During your first appointment (which is 20 minutes long) we will take a history and get to know more about you, your activities, your past injuries, and how long you have been experiencing shin pain.
  • Step Two – Physical exam – We evaluate the region of pain in the leg. This allows us to ascertain what tissues are involved. This could be muscle, tendon, fascia or bone. We will check everything to see what has become inflamed.
  • Step Three – Checking your gear –  We evaluate your footwear to see if they are worn excessively, or are compressed or deformed in such a way that they could be causing you pain.  Similarly, old orthotics may no longer be doing their job!
  • Step Four – Checking your step – We review your foot, lower limb alignment and gait pattern to see what motion occurs in the feet and lower limbs. We note any excessive or abnormal foot movement during running and/or walking. To do this we use slow motion digital video to view your running action using a treadmill (for close up motion analysis). We may even get you running in our carpark for a broader look at your running style.  Here at Sportsmed, we are one of the few clinics to also be able to measure impact forces when you run.  For this, we may get you running over a special mat to measure these forces on your feet and legs.  (If you have developed pain during certain activities such as bowling in cricket or dancing then we would usually review your foot biomechanics whilst performing these activities.)
  • Step Five – Treatment plan – Depending on your injury and the cause we will come up with a plan specifically for you. It could simply be activity modification and RICE. In some cases, you might need strapping, orthotics or advice regarding shoes. We will also provide you with stretches, exercises, and tips to do at home to support your recovery. We have to hatch this plan together so we can achieve a suitable outcome for you.

What about follow up?

Depending on your injury you may need one or two follow up appointments a week after your initial treatment. However, this can vary depending on the severity and cause of your injury.

Are shin splints preventing you from running? Book an appointment with one of our Christchurch Podiatrists today and get your legs back on track.

Over to you…

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SportsMed Team

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