Shin splints are probably a runner’s worst nightmare!! I know they are mine, and I struggle when they attack! But there are different kinds of shin splints pain. There is anterior and posterior shin splints.
Anterior shin splints is having pain in the front of the leg right below the knee; the tibialas anterior. The posterior shin splints is pain along the inside edge of the lower leg in the tibialis posterior tendon. The tibia, or shin bone works with muscles and tendons. While muscles on the front of the leg, the anterior tibialis serve to point the toes and foot up which is called dorsiflexion, the tibialis posterior helps to point the toes and foot down which is plantarflexion.
Causes of posterior shin splints:
- Having a tight calf muscle
- Having muscle imbalance
- having collapsed arches or flat feet
- excessive pronation
- improper or worn out shoes
- running surfaces
- improper running form, overuse
- excessive stress placed on one leg or one hip
Posterior shin splints are an inflammation of the tendons that attach to the inner side of the shin bone and causes pain in the inner surface of your shin bone extending down to the arches in your feet. Posterior shin splint pain is specific to the medial ankle, just behind the medial malleolus and along the lower and inner shin. And remember, that this is different from anterior shin splints. Pain will be felt to the touch and generally will not exhibit swelling.
- pain near your ankle
- pain when you flex your foot
- slight inflammation
Once you get the pain and damage under control you have start treating your posterior shin splints, and control them so they don’t come back!
- Depending on the severity of the pain reduce or stop running to give your shins time to recover, if there is a stress fracture then other more serious measure need to be taken and you should talk to your Doctor. You can also do non impact exercise like swimming and biking.
- Rest, Ice, Elevate, Compress!!!!!! When you come back from a run and you are having pain, wrap some ice packs around your posterior shin with some ace bandages and prop your foot on something, make sure your foot is above your heart for the blow flow. Keep the ice and leg elevated for about 20-25 mins.
- Take some NSAID’s such as aleve, or advil. It will help with swelling and pain.(Always consult your Doctor before taking meds)
- Check your running shoes and running surfaces. Being in the wrong shoes will actually cause shin splints so make sure you are in the right pair for you.
- STRETCH! doing some stretches through the day will help strengthen your shins and helps reduce the pain:
Kneel on a carpeted floor, legs and feet together and toes pointed directly back. Then slowly sit back onto your calves and heels, pushing your ankles into the floor until you feel tension in the muscles of your shin. Hold for 10 to 12 seconds, relax and repeat. You can also do this with one leg, but instead off placing both legs back place one foot flat on the floor:
In a sitting position, trace the alphabet on the floor with your toes. Do this with each leg
Alternate walking on your heels, walk normal for 30 seconds, then walk on your heels for 30 seconds. Do this at least 4 reps, at least 3 times a day.
Do some dorsiflexion, by pointing your toes close to your shins, then do a plantar flexion is where you point your toes away from your shin. Doing 10 reps holding each position for 3 seconds.
- Getting a nice massage can also help.
- Wear some compression sleeves, they promote better blow flow, and having them tight will bind the tendons up against the shaft of the shin to prevent stress.
- KT TAPE has helped me in more ways than one, and They have an excellent application for posterior shin splints:
Hopefully you all know a little more about shin splints and that there isn’t just one! Know the difference between anterior and posterior shin splints!
P/S for anterior shin splints information click here: http://runnerunleashed.com/2013/03/27/the-dreaded-shin-splints/