Diagnosis of Shin Splints
The history of the event that triggered the pain is an important clue. A clinical assessment that includes gentle pressure on the shin area and a variety of special tests will be conducted by the physical therapist. Stress fractures, compartment syndrome, nerve entrapment and popliteal artery entrapment are a few of the conditions that must be considered.
Treatment of Shin Splints
Foundations of treatment include ice and rest.
Gait and footwear analysis
An analysis of how a person walks and runs is an important part of treatment. The wrong mechanism of walking can transmit a great deal of force through the shin to the knee and hip. In such situations, physical therapists will correct gait patterns and recommend footwear with shock-absorbing capacity.
Muscle stretches and strengthening
The tibial and peroneal muscles are attached to the shin and must be stretched adequately before any form of exercise. Physical therapy includes various stretches of the foot that will help stretch and warm up these muscles. Strengthening the damaged muscles can also help.
Physical therapists may suggest alternative activities to minimize stress on the shinbones. These can include swimming and cycling.
Range of motion exercises
Exercises for the hip, knee, ankle and foot improve blood circulation, reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
The absence or collapse of a normal foot arch can lead to shin splints. Physical therapists will recommend appropriate orthotics that can be custom made for the patient and provide the appropriate amount of arch support.
The Recovery Phase
The recovery phase varies and can take between 3 weeks to 6 months. Take it easy and work your way back to your favorite activities under the supervision of the physical therapist. Low or non-impact activities such as swimming, walking, bicycling can pave the way for progressive, load-bearing exercises.
The shin splint has healed when:
Tips for Prevention of Shin Splints:
Physical therapy can help you get back on your feet, and every member of our team is standing by to help you. We can help prevent further injury and pain, which is why an appointment should be scheduled at the first sign of discomfort.
The sooner you give us the opportunity to assess the injury and initiate treatment, the faster you will recover. Thank you for your time, and we look forward to helping you get back on your feet.
Dr. Anne Lamb has more than 40 years of experience as a physical therapist and 20+ years as a business owner of In Touch Physical Therapy. She worked in the Metro area for ten years during which time she designed and opened two new clinics, and expanded Fridley’s Noran Neurological Clinic. Dr. Lamb moved to Owatonna in 1993, and worked at HealthReach in Albert Lea, before beginning In Touch Physical Therapy in November, 1996. She has been very involved in federal and local advocacy. Since 2003, Dr. Lamb has traveled to Washington, D.C. every year to meet with legislators to work on Medicare legislation. She continues to work on repealing the Medicare cap, so clients have the right to physical therapy in a private practice facility. Anne enjoys spending time with her four adult children and two grandchildren. Travel and various athletic activities, including yearly triathlons.