Shin Pain & Injury

Shin Pain & Injury

Article by John Miller

Shin Pain

Most shin pain results from chronic overuse resulting in overloading the structures such as your bone, muscle and tendons.

Common Sources of Shin Pain

Shin pain or injury is a prevalent lower leg complaint in runners and other athletes who need to run in their sport, e.g. football.  Shin pain most commonly manifests itself as shin splints.

Shin Splints

Shin splints are characterised by pain in the lower leg’s front or side, particularly near the shin and often involve small tears of the leg muscle near the shin bone or injury to the bone itself, e.g. periosteal injury. It is prevalent among people involved in athletic pursuits such as running and walking.

Symptoms include tightness, tenderness on palpation of the edge of the shin bone (tibia) and throbbing of the shins during and after activity. The symptoms often disappear at rest then return as soon as the action is resumed. There are two main types of shin splints: anterior shin splints and posterior shin splints.

More info about Shin Splints.

Stress Fractures

Should shin splints progress, they may eventually present as stress fractures, which will not only affect your sporting performance but interrupt your training plan. Most stress fractures require you to rest for at least six weeks, so it is essential to differentiate between the two injuries. While causes can vary, all shin pain sufferers should undertake a professional examination to assess if any poor biomechanics, training schedules or dietary issues predispose you to a shin injury.

More info about Stress Fractures.

Compartment Syndrome

Compartment syndrome or acute form – CECS (Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome) is a condition where your circulation and soft tissue function become compromised by increased pressure within a space.

Acute compartment syndrome is a surgical emergency to prevent tissue death. Chronic compartment syndrome is reversible with sound professional advice and injury management.

More info about Compartment Syndrome.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

DOMS (or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is another form of overuse that can affect your muscles adjacent to the shin.

More info about DOMS.

Shin Pain Running

The most common cause of shin pain that we see at PhysioWorks is shin pain from running. Frequently the shin pain is caused by excessive changes in training loads. Overload can happen as runners ramp up their loads from zero to a few kilometres or at the other end of the spectrum as runners prepare for more extended events, e.g. marathon or Ironman events.

However, any sport that involves running or even landing activities can experience shin pain due to overloading. This overload can include football codes, netball or even high-speed and load sports such as gymnastics.

More info: Running Injuries

Leg Cramps

Generally, aching legs, leg cramps can all result in leg pain. Another interesting source of leg pain is Restless Legs Syndrome.

Calf and Achilles Injuries

While not often thought of as a shin pain source, behind your shin is your calf which is vulnerable to a torn calf muscle or an Achilles tendinopathy.

Referred Pain

Plus, you can also experience referred pain to your shin from sciatica or a lower back injury.

Shin Pain Treatment

At PhysioWorks, we have several of our highly skilled physiotherapists with a particular interest in shin pain and joint injury. Traditionally, most shin pain conditions receive treatment with only short-term aims in mind. e.g. rest or painkillers.

One of the differences that you’ll notice with PhysioWorks treatment is the thorough analysis of WHY you have your shin pain, rather than only treating your symptomatic pain. We strongly believe that if you don’t correct why you are vulnerable to shin pain, then it is only a matter of time before your shin pain returns.

Research findings have modified modern physiotherapy treatment approaches to shin pain. Together with a thorough knee and lower limb assessment, your treatment can progress quickly to get you pain-free and performing your regular sport or daily activities in the shortest time possible.

Common Shin Pain Treatment Options

Please click the links below for more information about some of the Common Knee Treatments that we can recommend or utilise for your knee pain.