Effective Treatments for Shin Splints

Shin SplintsShin splints are also known as medial tibial stress syndrome.

Shin splints is a condition characterized by pain in the lower leg brought on by running or other athletic activity. It can also be caused or exacerbated by ill-fitting or inadequate shoes past their prime. It is an injury that causes inflammation of the muscles in the lower leg including the posterior tibialis, anterior tibialis, and flexor hallicus longus. The muscles are used in ankle plantar flexion—pointing your forefoot downward and is used in deceleration as seen in runners who do a lot of hill work up and down.   Athletes who are required to stop and go frequently, such as in soccer or basketball may also have difficulties with shin splints.  In severe cases, the pain does not stop following the end of athletic activity.  If left untreated, shin splints can prevent involvement in future athletic activity.

Common treatments for this condition are NSAIDs, rest and ice. These treatments are not always ideal. Long term use of anti-inflammatory medication can cause serious health risks. Rest is not always possible during the height of the athletic season, for those who are weekend warriors, work still calls. These treatments will cause a reduction of symptoms, but will do nothing to prevent shin splints from occurring again.

A Chiropractic Approach to Shin Splints

A chiropractic approach allows the patient to treat the shin splints while limiting the use of NSAIDs. In addition, chiropractic approaches can accelerate the healing process, reducing the need for prolonged rest. Shin splints are caused by injury not a disease process, so of course prevention of the initial injury as well as avoidance of recurrence is ideal.

Chiropractic prevention and treatment for shin splints include:

  • running gait analysis to address any muscular imbalances
  • manual therapy of the inflamed muscle to speed up the reduction of swelling
  • ultrasound therapy
  • kinesio taping
  • natural topical anti-inflammatory with formulations including arnica, curcumin, boswellia
  • education about proper fitting shoes

Usually with active care, under professional supervision the condition is reduced in a matter of days and under control in weeks. With proper education it is easy to prevent the recurrence of shin splints.

Stretching lower leg muscles such as the Gastrocnemius-Soleus Stretch will help (30secs X 3 sets).

[tubepress video="mCEBa9MFckI"]

Strengthening exercises for the tibialis posterior and tibialis anterior are also helpful.  This done by toe walking and heel walking for several minutes each way 2-3 X per day.

Vijay Patel (77 Posts)

Dr. Vijay Patel earned his doctoral degree in Chiropractic from National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, Illinois. Dr. Patel is board certified in electrodiagnostics by the American Chiropractic Neurology Board. Dr. Patel has recently received training in Manipulation under Anesthsia (MUA). Constantly striving to give his patients the most up-to-date care possible, Dr. Patel attends many post-graduate seminars including such topics as neurology, research review, and sports performance enhancement. Dr. Patel has practiced medicine at Advanced Physical Medicine and Therapy in Mt. Prospect, Illinois since 1999. Dr. Patel currently serves as president of the Chicago chapter of the Illinois Chiropractic Society. He is also a member of both the National College of Chiropractic Alumni Association and the American Chiropractic Association. Dr. Patel is fluent in Gujarati. A lifelong runner, he has completed marathons and still competes in triathlons with his college mates.

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    1. Devices like these can be effective for home based therapy. In our office, trained staff uses professional devices to achieve results.

    2. My doctor recommended a golf ball muscle roller for my shin splints, worked very well and reduced the soreness, seriously check it out! http://zzathletics.com/Golf-Ball-Muscle-Roller-Massager-GBMR1.htm

      • Ilyas on July 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      When viewing this video plasee take careful note of the action: It is not a calf raise per se. It is intended to exercise the tibialis posterior which acts as a reverse spring for the arch of the foot and reduces stress on the foot muscles, such as the plantar fascia. It is best combined with deep tissue massage of the calf and foot. I can assure you that it does work with the majority of cases of foot pain and shin splints. If it hurts, you need to do more not less!

    3. Really nice. I like it!

      • Phung Larabel on April 24, 2012 at 3:16 am

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