Shin pain is usually along the inside of the lower leg at the tibia bone. Shin pain can be exacerbated by exercises, such as running, jumping, and going to gym. Essentially, high impact on the lower legs during exercises can result in micro tears of the tendons and cartilage, which is why people who experience pain on their shins come to see a podiatrist .
There are several diagnosis for shin pain and it is best to see either a podiatrist, physiotherapist, or osteopath to get the correct diagnosis and treatment.
What are the causes of shin pain?
- Training on hard or uneven surfaces
- Tightness in the calves or muscle weakness
- Biomechanical abnormalities – high arches or flat feet (should be assessed by a trained clinician)
- Poor training methods – eg. not warming up or down appropriately, running up hills or on hard surfaces
- Being overweight
- Excessive training or activity – as mentioned running and jumping activities
- Incorrect or inappropriate footwear worn during these activities.
How do you treat shin pain?
Rest – eg. if you are a regular runner, then you need to STOP completely. You may need to stop for 3-6 weeks. If you don’t think you can stop as you will lose motivation, then at least try reducing running.
Ice – ice your shins by rolling a frozen Coke bottle up and down along your shins where the pain is. This will help reduce inflammation.
Change your footwear – alternate between two different runners, and make sure they are not worn out. On average, someone who runs regularly needs to purchase new footwear every 6-9 months.
Activity modification – in the meantime, try swimming or bike riding which puts less stress on your shins.
Achilles stretch: Keep the balls of your feet on the step, drop your heels off the step, and hold for 10 seconds in this position, whilst keeping your knees straight. Then slowly bring the heels up. Repetitions: 30 times, 3 times daily for 6 weeks aggressively.
See a podiatrist for a gait assessment in Narre Warren. If there are biomechanical abnormalities or excessively pronated or supinated foot type, then custom made orthotics may be required. If we (the podiatrist) don’t think you will benefit from orthotics, then a referral to our local physiotherapist/osteopath will be sent for some deep tissue massage.