Physical Therapy for Shin Splints

While you may have had them at some point, you might not know that physical therapy for shin splints can offer real relief from this pain. Our trained and certified physical therapists see a number of patients from Boulder, Golden, Westminster and nearby areas who are suffering from shin splints.

What Causes Shin Splints?

Shin splints is the name given to pain at the front of the lower leg. There is a sheath surrounding the largest bone of the lower leg (tibia) called the periostium. Due to overuse of running on hard surfaces or sports involving a lot of jumping the periostium becomes inflamed. Additionally, the muscles at their point of attachment to the shin get small tears.

Excess training with inadequate recovery is the primary cause. Excess deviation from the usual training regime should be avoided to prevent shin splints. Rapid increase of speed or distance in the training routine must not occur. Muscle imbalances in leg strength and flexibility, insufficient shock absorption and toe running are direct causes when combined with overtraining.

Need Physical Therapy for Shin Splints?

Contact our office nearest to you – Boulder, Golden or Westminster.

Symptoms & Treatment of Shin Splints

The location of shin splints is along the tibia (shin) in the lower half of the tibia. Pain may be from mild to severe as the injury progresses from a stress reaction to an actual stress fracture, or from a few to many small muscle tears. The first symptom to appear is pain in the first part of the training run which disappears later in the run. The pain may return after exercise or the following morning. At this point, ice, taking aspirin or ibuprofen, stretching the entire lower leg, rest, and greatly reduced running for one to two weeks will result in healing. Physical therapy for shin splints can also help your recovery.

Most importantly, when running is resumed, never run through pain. Return MUST involve better shoes, much less running distance and more days off running.

The mistakes that lead to the injury must not be repeated.

Physical Therapy for Shin Splints

If the injury is more severe or longstanding, physical therapy for shin splints will be needed. Treatment will involve biomechanical analysis of running, shoe prescription, possibly orthotic prescription, ice massage, soft tissue massage, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and pain free strengthening and flexibility programs to correct muscle imbalances.