“Shin splints” is a term used to describe overuse injury to the muscles on the front of the lower leg. These muscles must contract as the heel hits the ground with walking or running to control the foot as it makes contact with the ground. Over time this repetitive stress can lead to pain and injury to these muscles. With this type of soft tissue injury the body will deposit scar tissue adhesions in and around the injured area in an attempt to heal and stabilize the area. Over time this scar tissue can build-up and interfere with the normal function of the muscles. When this happens there is most commonly a deep, dull ache or pain on the front or side of the lower leg. There will often be tenderness when pressure is applied over the bone and muscles of the front of the shin.
Initial treatment in acute cases may require relative rest and ice to reduce pain and inflammation. Low intensity laser can be used to help settle inflammation and stimulate tissue repair. The scar tissue adhesions must be addressed with Myofascial Release Techniques (MRT) to reduce muscular tension and allow the muscles to function normally. Underlying factors such as improper footwear, foot dysfunction, or other biomechanical factors must also be addressed to prevent recurrences when the individual returns to their pre-injury activities.