Shin splints is a general term describing pain along the front or inner side of the lower leg. It can result from overworking of the calf muscles so that they pull excessively on the shin bone or it may be due to stress fractures in the shin bone. It usually develops gradually as a dull ache but can sometimes be triggered by unaccustomed activity such as running on concrete or adding hills to your running programme. It always requires a period of rest from running and a close examination of the mechanics of the foot and pelvis. Orthotics are often required to correct foot biomechanics.
Laura, who is in her mid-twenties had recently started running and had joined a running club. About a month later she started feeling pain in the front of her shins which came on after she had done hill training. Laura rested for a week and the pain settled but came back the first time she tried to resume her training. She tried resting a few more times but every time she tried to resume running the problem returned. By the time she was seen at Stranmillis Physiotherapy she was experiencing achiness when walking. On assessment her feet were the primary source of her problem and she was fitted with Orthotics (inserts in her shoes tailored to correct her foot problem). LASER was used for pain relief and to promote healing and Laura was taught self-massage to the affected muscles to help them recover. She was taught specific exercises to improve stability around her hips and pelvis in order to reduce the stress on her feet. Laura had 5 treatment sessions and was able to resume running gradually after a month. She has since completed several 10km events with no further symptoms.