SHIN SPLINTSshin_splints.jpg

Classic Presentation

The patient complains of lower leg pain in the front or the back that is often slow to come on.  If asked, the patient may remember walking or running on hard surfaces.  The pain is a deep ache that is often worse with weight bearing.  Many times shin splint are easily correctable with proper therapy and custom foot orthotics.


Cause

There are generally two types.  The anterior (front) shin splint involves the tibialis anterior, extensor hallucis logus, and digitorum longus.  These muscles are used for shock absorption; when they are weak and placed under increased demand as in walking or running on hard surfaces or when the shoe has no shock-absorbing quality, the force is transmitted to the tibia and its attachments.  The posterior (back) type of shin splint involves the tibialis posterior, flexor hallucis longus, and flexor digitorum longus muscles.  The soleus has also been implicated.  These muscle act as ankle stabilizers and appear to be overstrained when the patient is hyperpronated. 

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