Posterior = tibialis posterior
Anterior = tibialis anterior
The term “shin splints” refers to pain and tenderness along or just behind the inner edge of the tibia, the large bone in the lower leg. Shin splints–or medial tibial stress syndrome -usually develop after physical activity, such as vigorous exercise or sports. Repetitive activity leads to inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and periosteum (thin layer of tissue covering a bone) of the tibia, causing pain. The bone tissue itself is also involved.
Posterior shin splints are a condition wherein the periosteum of the tibia is damaged when it is pulled away by an overstressed tibialis posterior muscle.
Anterior shin splints are a condition wherein the blood flow is obstructed from the anterior compartment due to the hypertrophy of the overstressed tibialis anterior compartment.
Shin splints common symptoms/complaints
Posterior shin splints: Patients complain of a dull, aching pain felt along the inside of the lower leg. Once it starts, any activity will aggravate it.
Anterior shin splints: Patients complain of dull, aching pain felt along the front side of the lower leg.
How are shin splints caused?
- Flat feet or abnormally rigid arches
- Sudden increase in training or new vigorous impact training
- Military training
Certain factors seem to contribute to shin splints. The condition commonly affects runners, aerobic dancers, and people in the military. Shin splints often develop after sudden changes in physical activity, such as running longer distances or on hills, or increasing the number of days you exercise each week. Flat feet are another factor that can contribute to increased stress on the lower leg muscles during exercise.
Posterior shin splints: During over-pronation the tendon of the tibialis posterior is stretched and pulled upon excessively, thereby attacking the weakest area, namely its origin on the periosteum of the tibia. The small pain fibres of the periosteum are torn away causing pain and chronic inflammation.
Anterior shin splints: During over-pronation the tibialis anterior muscle fibres must fire constantly to oppose (re-supinate) the over-pronation, thus causing swelling of the tibialis anterior compartment. With the anterior compartment being tightly constricted, the swollen tibialis anterior can cause an obstruction of blood flow, which, in turn can cause severe pain due to ischemia (lack of oxygen).
How are shin splints treated?
Medial and anterior shin splints: Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment may include standard acute care, restricted activity and an orthotic device that corrects the over-pronation and stops the foot from falling too far medially (reducing the strain on the tibialis posterior) and facilitates proper foot function and timing, reducing the stress on the tibialis anterior.
Nonsurgical treatment for shin splints includes several weeks of rest from the activity that caused it. Other forms of conditioning can be substituted. The doctor may recommend that you take anti-inflammatory medications, or use cold packs and mild compression to feel better. Stretching exercises can also help.
In most people, the pain is not so bad with ordinary walking. After several weeks of rest, low-level training may begin. Be sure to warm up and stretch thoroughly before you exercise. Increase training slowly. If you start to feel the same pain, stop exercising immediately. Use a cold pack and rest for a day or two. Return to training again at a lower level of intensity. Increase training even more slowly than before.
Very few people need surgery for shin splints. Surgery has been done in very severe cases of shin splints that do not respond to nonsurgical treatment. It is not clear how effective surgery is, however.
An accurate diagnosis is very important. Sometimes, other problems may exist, which will have an impact on healing.
Best Shoes for Shin Splints
We carry a wide variety of shoes and sandals for shin splints. Many of the supportive shoes we carry have great support which reduces the stress on the tibia. Additionally, we carry shoes with cushioned soles that reduce the impact on your heel which reduces the stress on the entire leg.
Best Arch Supports for Shin Splints
We have a wide variety of arch supports for shin splints. The best arch support for shin splints will have good shock absorption, control pronation, and support the arch of the foot. We have over the counter arch supports and custom molded orthotics which help reduce the pain associated with shin splints. Make an appointment today with a specialist to find out which shin splints arch support is best for you!
Where to buy arch supports and shoes for shin splints
At Lucky Feet Shoes, we carry a wide variety of arch supports and shoes for shin splints online and in Southern California. We fit customers with arch supports and shoes for shin splints in Orange County, Inland Empire, Riverside, Temecula and Los Angeles County. Our stores in Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Dimas, Anaheim Hills, Temecula, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Costa Mesa, and Long Beach. We invite you to stop by for a free foot analysis and try arch supports and shoes for shin splints. In addition, we have a large selection of comfort shoes, wide shoes, walking shoes, running shoes, arch supports, and custom orthotics!