Shifnal Chiropractic Clinic

01952 460 947

Shin Splints


With the lighter evenings and the (supposedly) nicer weather, many more people are picking up the game with running.  You might never have done more than run to catch a bus, or you might have done a lot of running in the past, but let it slide over the winter months.  So you dust off the running shoes, freshen up the t-shirt and shorts combo and head out to pound those pavements.

A common problem at this stage is “shin splints”.  Pain down the front of your shin, which only gets worse the more you run.  Although normally a fairly benign problem, albeit painful, it can actually progress into something more serious so it should never be ignored or written off as a bit of post-exercise soreness.

Generally the pain starts to come on while you are actually running (that’s a heck of an indicator that it’s not just a bit of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS…no delay!) and if you decide to try and “push through it”, it will just get worse.

What’s happening is the muscle down the front of your lower leg is actually swelling from repetitive use in a manner to which it is not accustomed.  While all muscles undergo a degree of swelling when used in this manner, the particular muscle (or group of muscles) that are the cause of shin splints are encased in a strong, inflexible layer of connective tissue.  This means that when they start to swell, there is nowhere for all that pressure to go – so it hurts.

At this stage, the best thing to do is stop running, and apply ice to your shin to bring down that swelling.

If you have carried on running, or this is a long-standing problem for you, it can get to the stage where structures such as blood vessels which also run under that connective tissue layer are being compressed by the increase in pressure.  In the case of blood vessels, this is what we medical types refer to as “a bad thing”.  Squash the vessels supplying the rest of your leg and foot for long enough and it’s not unreasonable to expect some pretty serious complications, right up to the level of tissue death in the affected area.

So don’t ignore that pain in your shin as you run – stop running, apply ice, and find out why it’s happening.  Talk to a chiropractor, physiotherapist, osteopath, podiatrist, you GP…anyone who can take you through the most likely causes and work out what went wrong, so that you can address it and pick your training up once it has been addressed.  It may be as simple as getting new trainers, or more gradually increasing your level of exercise, but it absolutely must be corrected before you carry on.

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5 Dyas Close, Shifnal
TF11 9BQ

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