Medial tibial stress syndrome, commonly known as “shin splints” or “shin pain”, is a frequently injured part of the lower leg and one of the most common causes of leg pain in children. Although the diagnosis is often not serious, it can be a debilitating injury requiring significant time away from an activity if not managed correctly.
Medial tibial stress syndrome is often a result of connective muscle tissue within the lower part of the shin becoming inflamed with related pain. If untreated, it can develop into a tibial stress fracture.
What are the signs and symptoms of shin pain?
Some of the common signs and symptoms of shin pain include:
- Pain along either side of the shin bone (particularly toward the middle to the lower third of the shin)
- Pain that can be categorised as sharp and razor-like or dull and throbbing
- Sudden increase or change in activity before developing pain
- In most cases, pain that reduces once a thorough warm-up is done
What causes shin pain?
Shin splints are most commonly caused by repetitive stress on the shinbone and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone. Many factors can lead to the increased amount of stress placed on these tissues, including:
- Pronating or flat feet
- Inappropriate footwear that does not provide enough support
- Sudden gain of weight
- Footwear that isn’t suitable for the specific activity being done
- Tight calves
- Poor habits around warming up before activity
What treatment options are available for shin pain?
As shin pain is commonly a result of overuse, a simple beginning to managing painful symptoms would be discussing your activity levels with your podiatrist. If activity levels are significantly high or vigorous, a rest period may be beneficial. Lower impact types of aerobic activity, such as swimming, cycling or walking, maybe a suitable replacement to high impact activity.
The presence of shin pain may also stem from an underlying biomechanical deficiency. A thorough biomechanical assessment would identify the need to introduce orthotics, replace footwear or begin an exercise-based rehabilitation program.
Once painful symptoms have been successfully managed, a slow return to physical activity would be advised whilst carefully monitoring the return of previous symptoms.
Do you think your child is suffering from this condition?
If your child is complaining of sore legs, feet, or if you have noticed that they are having difficulty walking in any way, we are able to help through an initial assessment. We are currently running FREE kids assessments!
Click below to…
Through these assessments, our podiatrists have the ability to assess your child’s gait and feet, the biomechanics of their lower limbs and construct a treatment plan to monitor your child’s progression over time!