Dallas Knock Knee Treatment for Adults
Dallas Shin Splint Treatment for Children and Adults
Anyone who is familiar with running is probably also familiar with shin splints. Further, anyone who has experienced shin splints before knows just how much of a nuisance they can be. Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, are a relatively common exercise-related condition. It can result in pain along the shin bones, which can seriously limit someone’s ability to exercise or even walk comfortably.
Dr. Robert Berry of Sports Physicians Orthopedics and Rehabilitation of Texas (SPORT) sees hundreds of patients with shin splints, both children and adults. Dr. Berry, along with the rest of our SPORT doctors and physical therapists, have the skills and the experience needed to correct and prevent shin splints of any severity.
Dallas Shin Splint Specialist
What are Shin Splints?
Shin splints, or medial tibial stress syndrome, refers to a condition that affects a person’s tibia bone, or what many people refer to as a shinbone. It is the result of inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone surrounding the tibia. Shin splints typically develop from regular running or jumping, but can result from virtually any kind of physical activity.
Shin splint pain occurs along the outside, inner edge of the tibia where the muscles attach to the bone. In serious cases of medial tibial stress syndrome, there may also be slight swelling around the area. Those who experience shin splints describe the pain as being either sharp and razor-like or dull and throbbing. The area may be aggravated by massaging or even just touching and can occur both during and after physical activity.
What Causes Shin Splints?
Shin splints are generally caused by overworking the muscles and bone tissue in the leg through repetitive activity. Runners, dancers, and military recruits are some groups who are most likely prone to developing shin splints.
Medial tibial stress syndrome also often occurs as a result of a change in physical activity. For example, let’s say a person normally goes for a run 2-3 days out of the week. They decide to increase their activity level and up it to 4-5 days a week. This, along with any other sudden changes in duration or intensity of exercise, may cause shin splints to develop.
Other factors that contribute to shin splints include having flat feet, abnormally rigid arches, or exercising with worn-out or improper footwear.
How to Prevent Shin Splints?
There are a few steps you can take to help prevent the development of medial tibial stress syndrome, or shin splints. The most obvious way to prevent it is by slowly building up your fitness level. Because shin splints often result from a sudden increase or adjustment in activity levels, a slower buildup to a more intense routine can be beneficial in preventing them. Try to increase the duration, frequency, and/or intensity ever so gradually.
Another significant factor that contributes to the development of shin splints is your footwear. Old, worn-out shoes or shoes unfit for running can be a direct causation of shin splints. Make sure you are wearing shoes that are designed specifically for whatever sport or activity you are participating in. In addition, make sure they are made to fit your foot type (i.e., flat foot, high-arch, etc.).
Barefoot running may also help to prevent or even resolve shin splints. Recent research has shown that running barefoot can disperse the impact among leg muscles so that no muscle group becomes too overloaded with stress. Like with most workout regimens, you should begin barefoot running gradually and build up over time. Also be wary of the terrain on which you run, as being barefoot poses a greater risk for injuries like cuts or bruises.
Finally, cross-training may be beneficial in preventing shin splints. Try alternating lower impact sports (swimming, cycling, rowing) with higher impact sports (running, soccer, jumping hurdles).
How to Get Rid of Shin Splints?
The vast majority of shin splint cases are healed nonsurgically. There are some rare, extreme cases where typical treatment methods do not provide relief and surgery may be needed to repair the damage. However, this is very unlikely, as shin splints can almost always be treated by nonsurgical means.
Here are some common ways shin splints are treated:
- Ice. Applying ice packs to the affected area several times a day for 20 minutes at a time can help reduce pain and swelling.
- Compression. Wearing an elastic compression bandage over the shins can help prevent additional damage or swelling.
- Anti-inflammatory medication. Your doctor may prescribe you with medication that will help manage the pain and swelling.
- Supportive shoes. Sometimes, improper footwear can directly contribute to your medial tibial stress syndrome. Investing in shoes with proper support and cushioning can help reduce the strain placed on your tibia.
- Flexibility exercises. Flexing and strengthening the muscles of the leg may help in relieving some of the shin splint pain.
- Shoe inserts. People with abnormally flat feet or high arches tend to be prone to shin splints. Shoe inserts, whether they are custom-made or store bought, can help align and stabilize the foot while relieving some of the pressure that builds up while exercising.
- Rest. Perhaps the simplest thing you can do to treat shin splints is rest. Since they are an overuse injury, shin splints will heal on their own with the proper amount of rest and recovery time. Generally, a few weeks is enough of a break for your shin splints to heal.
Before you return to your normal exercise routine, you should be pain-free for at least two weeks so as to prevent any more stress to the shin bones. It is also advisable to return to a lower intensity or lower impact sport than before and gradually work your way back up.
Can a Physical Therapist Help Shin Splints?
Physical therapists can be very beneficial when it comes to treating shin splints. In addition to stretching and exercising your legs, our licensed Texas physical therapists may use a variety of other techniques to help in the recovery process. Often, this entails soft tissue massages or applying Kinesio Tape to provide arch support. Astym (a technique that utilizes unique tools to promote healing and tissue regeneration) and dry needling (a technique used to release or activate trigger points to relieve pain or improve range of motion) may also be used as a form of treatment.
In addition to onsite therapy, our SPORT physical therapists will also prescribe a home exercise program designed to strengthen muscles and prevent shin splints from reoccurring. Overall, physical therapy can significantly aid in the quick recovery and prevention of shin splints.
Dallas Shin Splint Treatment Options
At SPORT, we identify the source of your pain and use our top-of-the-line therapeutic techniques to restore your range of motion along with your quality of life. Depending on your specific condition and its severity, we develop personally-curated treatment plans meant just for you. These plans may include physical therapy, medication, shots, or even surgery.
If you or someone you know is suffering from shin splints, get in touch with the experts at SPORT Orthopedics + Rehabilitation as soon as possible to ensure you’re back in the game in no time. You can give us a call at (469) 200-2832 to schedule a consultation or feel free to fill out our online intake form.