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Shin Pain Treatment Birmingham

All shin pain often gets described as the dreaded term “Shin Splints”, the bane of many runners and active people. The thing is shin splints is not really a diagnosis, it’s a collection of as much as 31 different potential diagnoses! When most people talk about shin splints they are usually referring to Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS). We have always believed that patients should be knowledgeable about their condition which will enable them to understand why we provide the treatments we do.

If you have mild pain in your shin or a slight niggle that is not present at all times, some simple management may be enough for it to settle. Pain like this can be quite common, especially when you first start running or any sporting activity. Try and rest for a few days, or reduce the amount you run to a comfortable level until the discomfort settles. This will often be enough for most patients. Some patients benefit from a compression sock helps reduce pressure on the shin structures when running. Stretching the calf muscles can help (and sometimes tibialis anterior too – the muscle in the front of your shin). That said, there is no quick fix for shin pain and there is a genuine risk of a stress fracture so if in doubt get it checked out by one of our podiatrists.

Shin pain can be separated into 4 broad types, bony, muscular, vascular and neural pain. As this is a complex area we won’t talk about each category in detail, you really need to visit our clinic to be diagnosed correctly as the treatment plan will vary substantially between all types of shin pain.

MTSS is considered by many to be the actual medical term for Shin Splints. Its a condition that isn’t fully understood – some describe it as a diffuse inflammation of the periosteum on the medial part of the tibia (in plain English – inflammation on the inside of the lower leg at the surface of the bone that is spread out rather than focused on one area).

There is evidence that suggests MTSS, like TSF (Tibial Stress Fracture), is a bone stress reaction caused by chronic repetitive loads that causes bending forces to the lower leg.

With a stress fracture the bone loading causes a progression from periosteal inflammation to the development of an actual stress fracture, with MTSS this progression doesn’t appear to happen, instead a chronic ‘hypermetabolic state’ exists within the bone. What this means is that the bone is constantly being remodelled and developed, a process that may involve inflammation and pain. The causes of MTSS vary from running style, foot mechanics, choice of running shoes and most commonly, too much load. Load is the amount of force you are putting through your legs. Think of load as water and your legs as buckets, if you have too much water it will spill out of the bucket. This is what happens if you increase your training or type of training too quickly. However unlike buckets human structures will adapt if you slowly drip feed this load.

Confused? You can see just how complex this area is! It’s not well understood which is why standardised “exercises for shin splints” you may see on Google and YouTube could just as easily aggravate the condition.

Visit our clinic for a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan for shin splints, which will encompass a number of treatment modalities to get you back to being pain free as soon as possible and more importantly to prevent any further damage to shins such as a stress fracture.


Call 0800 1953440 for your initial consultation