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Thinking About Shin Splints Rehab? Tips for Finding Treatment

shin splints rehab

Have you ever had shin splints before? If so, then you can join the club, especially since about 20% of Americans do. Not only that, but up to 35% of military service members deal with shin splints on a regular basis as well.

Are you thinking about shin splints rehab? For those of you who are sick and tired of Googling “shin splint picture” and “taping shin splints,” it’s essential to find the best treatment options for your unique situation. Keep reading to learn more!

All About Shin Splints

Do you know how to tape shin splints? If not, then you’ve probably never had to deal with chronically painful shins before. For those of you who enjoy running marathons, shin splints are especially common.

In case you didn’t know, the term “shin splints” describes the searing pain that you may feel on the front edges or the inside of your shin. As a matter of fact, shin splints are typically to blame for any shin pain that you might experience.

This is how it all goes down. For most of us, shin pain normally occurs somewhere near the anterior shin splints and the posterior shin splints.

To put it simply, anterior shin splints are found on the anterior or the front of your shinbone. Involving the tibialis anterior muscle, the two function together to lower and lift your foot.

Crazily enough, anterior shin splints help you to lift and swing your foot as you stride as well. After that, it brings your foot down, preparing for landing again. So if you lift your foot and your interior shin pain gets worse, you most likely have anterior shin splints.

On the other hand, posterior shin splints are a whole other story. Placed on the medial or inside rear of your shin, they work with the tibialis posterior muscle to control and lift your foot arch while you’re standing. Once this becomes weakened, the arches in your feet will collapse, causing your torsional shin bone to become stressed out.

Have you been experiencing severe pain on the inside rear of the shin bone? If that’s the case, then chances are that you are suffering from some sort of tibia stress fracture or posterior shin splints.

This is also known as medial tibial stress syndrome. You’ll want to get this taken care of at your doctor’s office!

Common Causes of Shin Splints

Now that we’ve covered that shin splints are the result of overstrained muscles that are attached to your shin, let’s talk about the common causes behind this injury. For starters, overtraining or overusing your muscles at the gym could result in poor leg and foot biomechanics.

As if that’s not enough, there are tons of mistakes you can make in training that could mess up your shins badly, including:

  • Not resting for long enough between workouts
  • Running on angled or hard surfaces
  • Ramping up your training too quickly

But here’s the thing. Besides the common errors that we mentioned above, some causes of shin splints have to do with biochemical movement patterns too.

What does this mean?

To keep it simple, biomechanical movements have to do with any “abnormal movement patterns.” For example, biomechanical errors can include the overpronation or oversupination of your feet. Not only that, but tight hamstrings and calf muscles count as biomechanical errors as well.

Another common cause behind shin splints is poor ankle flexibility, as well as decreased control of your knees, hips, and legs. On top of that, having a weak core can be extremely detrimental to your shin health. Even wearing the wrong sneakers can increase your odds of getting shin splints!

But wait – there’s more…

What Structures Are Damaged?

When it comes to muscle pain, dealing with annoying shin splints has to be at the top of the list. However, finding out which structures are actually damaged is the biggest part of the recovery process. Here’s everything that you need to know.

Generally speaking, chronic shin pain stems from a combo of three unique structures, which include the:

  • Muscular system
  • Tenoperiosteum
  • Shinbone, or the tibia

To make things clear, your muscular system is extremely sensitive, especially when it gets overused repeatedly. At that point, at least one of your lower leg muscles will get hurt in the process, causing it to overload excessive stress. The result is this: muscle knots, inflammation, or tenderness.

In case you need a refresher, shin splints are most commonly caused by the tibialis anterior and the tibialis posterior muscles. What’s the real deal about the tenoperiosteum? Whether you believe or not, every single bone in your body has a shell that’s nicknamed the periosteum. 

Since tendons connect the bones to the muscle in your body, they also latch onto your periosteum. This is the exact place where the bone meets the tendons, which is called the tenoperiosteum.

And get this: almost everyone who has had shin splints has dealt with inflammation in their periosteum, leading to pain in all kinds of different spots on your shin.

Now, let’s take some time to focus on the shinbone itself.

In most cases, the tibia bone has damage to the lower portion of it. Even though the damage might be mild or related to stress, it could also be a stress fracture. However, sometimes, bone damage in your tibia can’t even be detected on x-rays.

Does this sound familiar to you? If so, then you might want to ask your physiotherapist for a magnetic resonance imaging scan!

The Symptoms of Shin Splints

Okay, so you’re pretty sure that you have some serious bone damage, but have you had a doctor confirm this yet? If not, then it’s highly likely that your physiotherapist will go over the official symptoms of shin splints with you once you book an appointment.

Until then, take a look at a few of our guidelines until you see a professional. First of all, feeling any type of distress during warm-up is a big sign of an oncoming injury. But here’s the best part: if you can spot it in advance, you’ll be able to work around it, as long as it doesn’t get any worse.

In spite of this, we definitely suggest that you talk to a doctor to make sure your exercise routine is not getting in the way of your shin splints treatment. The next step is to keep an eye out for any pain that goes away while you’re getting warmed up and shows up again when you’re done working out.

Here’s the deal: although you’ll still be able to continue relatively pain-free activity, you’ll still have to get professional treatment at this time. That’s when you’ll get the professional advice and treatment to avoid injury or heal from it. Of course, the shin splints treatment will continue until you’ve completely recovered as well.

Another symptom of shin splints is any distress that increases as you continue your daily activities. If you feel like you are at this stage of injury, then you’ve got to take an abrupt break from your workouts.

Again, we highly recommend that you see a professional physiotherapist to get a proper diagnosis. That way, you’ll make sure that your shin splints haven’t turned into bone stress fractures. Plus, there are plenty of rehab programs available to get you back on your feet.

Shin Splints, Car Accidents, and Work-Related Injuries

Okay, so you’re probably thinking: what on earth do shin splints have to do with car accidents and work-related injuries? Clearly, experiencing severe leg pain after a car accident is practically a given nowadays.

And yes, that includes things like shin, foot, and knee pain. For instance, breaking suddenly can sprain or strain the soft tissue in your leg or your foot. Meanwhile, vicious rear-end aut0collisions can push your leg or your knee into the dashboard, impacting your shin bones instantly.

Plus, work-related injuries can also result in shin splints, resulting in decreased workloads and increased medical bills!

How to Treat Shin Splints

News flash: there’s a lot more to treating this muscular injury than just searching “tape shin splints” on your computer. As a matter of fact, the first step in treating shin splints lies in preventing them before they occur.

Yes, you read that right. Called the anti-inflammatory and pain reduction phase, this treatment calls for you to rest, ice, and protect your shin bones before they get any worse. Let’s face it: it might be a little tough to run or walk without any pain at this early stage.

That’s why it’s so important for your bones and muscles to rest actively right now. To do so, place a pack of ice on your injury every couple of hours for at least 30 minutes. Besides this, take anti-inflammatory medication, which can help to bring down your swelling and pain as well.

In addition, taping up your shins to relieve the stress on your bones is probably the right call. If you’re looking to regain your typical range of motion, protecting your shins as they strengthen and heal should be your number one priority. This works by remolding your old scar tissue, preventing it from tearing again for years to come.

Don’t know where to start? All that you have to do is schedule a massage and practice regular muscle stretches to get your shin bones back in working order. Not to mention that dynamic mobilization exercises will be helpful too. 

For those of you who are still confused, your doctor will show you the way. Also, normalizing the biomechanics of your foot is probably a good idea.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for shin splints to occur from simple things, like having a flat foot. Solution: you may have a foot orthotic, or shoe insert, prescribed to you!

More Treatments for Shin Splints

In addition to what we’ve talked about above, restoring muscle strength is the real key to treating shin splints. For those of you who are still scratching your heads, this includes your gluteal, quadriceps, shin, calf, and other muscles that need to be strengthened up. 

Whether you like it or not, this is the only way to safely resume the training or sport of your choice. Think about it this way: most shinbone injuries occur due to some heavy overtraining. Plus, runners are used to placing enormous strain on their bodies, which could easily result in shin splints.

If you don’t want this to happen to you, you have to see a physiotherapist who can help you modify your training schedules and exercise routines. Together, you and your physiotherapist will focus on the most important parts of your shin splint rehabilitation process. This is what will help you prevent a recurring injury and get back into the gym or onto the trail again.

Depending on which sports you enjoy, you’ll be required to try out a progressed training and exercise routine. Good news: this will make sure that you’ll be able to return to your favorite workout before you know it. So, feel free to talk about your training schedules, time frames, and goals with your physiotherapist.

That way, they’ll be able to work with you to optimize your shin splint rehab process, checking in on your agility, power, and speed at all times. Sounds good to us!

Is Shin Splints Rehab for You? 

You may be wondering: is shin splints rehab for you? Luckily, we’ve got the answers to all of your most burning questions. From shin splints taping to shin splints recovery, you should definitely call your physiotherapist’s office to get shin pain relief fast.

In the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with following a few of our favorite recommendations for getting back on your feet. Also, it doesn’t hurt to take a bit longer to rest between workouts as well. Plus, running on angled or hard surfaces is also a big no-no, as long as your shin splint recovery is concerned.

Have you been hurt in a work-related incident? If you’ve been injured recently, give us a call today at 1-800-897-8440 to book an appointment!