Tibial Stress Syndrome (Shin Splints)

The Anatomy

There are two muscles that are commonly involved with this condition, they are the tibialis anterior and tibialis posterior. The tibialis anterior runs from the outside of the the shin bone in the front to the inside of the foot. The tibialis posterior is the deepest central muscle of the lower leg. It runs from the back of the shin bone to the inside of the foot. These two muscles work together and are important for ankle stability and balance. In addition, they are often injured with ankle sprains and strains, but go untreated. In the case of the ankle sprains, the tibialis anterior can tear, in which case it is likely to become shortened and fibrotic, which can lead to altered ankle motion, and thus alters the way you walk. When the way you walk is altered, it can affect everything up the kinetic chain including your hips and low back.

What Will You Experience?

Shin splints will illicit a throbbing and aching feeling alongside either side of the shin bones or within the muscle bodies of the lower leg. The pain can either be constant throughout the day, or more commonly, you will feel the discomfort right after you have stopped an activity, such as running, biking, or walking.

What Causes the Pain?

On a basic level, shin splints are an overuse syndrome of the muscles of the lower leg, such as the tibialis anterior and posterior. During activities, minor injuries can occur that cause muscle fibers to pull on the many attachment sites along the bone, and causes periosteal reaction at the sites or even tearing from the sites. This causes the tissue to become fibrotic, which changes the function of the tissue. Muscles go from being pliable, to becoming shortened and stiff. This causes added stress on the attachment sites. In addition, when muscles become shortened and less pliable, they affect the joint motion of the surrounding areas. Also, muscles are then less able to absorb the force that is being transmitted through those joints when you move.

Predisposing Factors

If you overpronate, or have flat feet, you may be predisposed to this condition because your feet collapse with each step, which causes the tendons of these involved muscles to be stretched. Also, shin splints are common in runners who increase their workout intensity or duration, or with runners that go from running on a soft surface, such as dirt, to a hard surface, such as asphalt. You are also predisposing yourself if you do not properly warm-up before exercises, or if you do no have proper shoes that provide suffiecient support.

What Will Lake Marion Chiropractic Do for You?

Every new patient visit will begin with a complete physical, muscular, and chiropractic examination. We will use motor pattern screens to find areas of weakness or areas of over activation. Advanced soft tissue techniques and chiropractic care will be combined to help develop muscular balance and motion. Rehabilitation, including corrective exercises, may be added to create a lasting solution to your condition. The important thing is that your treatment plan will be specific to your case and tailored to your needs and goals.


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