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Shin Splints

The term “shin splints” generally refers to pain in one of three different tendons or tendon groups in the leg: anterior shin splints, posterior shin splints and lateral shin splints.


Common Types of Shin Splits

  • Anterior Shin Splints: Tendonitis of tibialis anterior (anterior muscle group); the muscles and tendons that lift the foot upwards. The anterior muscles lift the foot up during the swing phase, that is, lifting the foot off the ground during each step. The anterior muscles contract and shorten to lift the foot up, also known as concentric contraction. When the heel hits the ground or contact phase, the anterior muscles must lower the foot down gradually to the ground and are contracting while lengthening, also known as eccentric contraction. Excessive hill running can be a cause of anterior shin splints. A more common cause of anterior shin splints is a tight posterior muscle group (Achilles tendon, soleus, and gastrocnemius), a condition also known as functional equinus.
  • Lateral shin splints: Tendinitis of the muscles in the lateral compartment of the leg,peroneus brevis or peroneus longus. The muscles of the lateral compartment of the leg evert or pronate the foot. They assist with the ability to push off the big toe, specifically,peroneus longus. Peroneus brevis plays a major role in preventing the ankle from spraining. Runners who supinate (feet roll out) tend to be prone to lateral shin splints.Running position can be a factor.  For example, if one runs clockwise on a track then the right foot will supinate more than the left and may be prone to lateral shin splints. Reversing direction periodically on a track is a good practice. Another example would be running along the beach in which the foot facing the water would supinate more and be at risk. 
  • Posterior shin splints: Tendinitis of the deep posterior compartment, specifically the tibialis posterior muscle and tendon.  Tibialis posterior runs down the deep portion of the inside of the leg and attaches to the arch of the foot at the navicular bone. The navicular bone is the high point of the arch and the tibialis posterior lifts up on the navicular, raising the arch and supinating the foot (rolling in outward).  Runners who pronate too much overuse the tibialis posterior which may lead to posterior shin splints.

If any of these describe you as a runner, and you’re experiencing chronic pain, you may be struggling and in need of shin splints therapy. If you’re in need of shin pain treatment from the best podiatrist near you in San Antonio, TX, schedule your first appointment with Dr. Davis at South Texas Podiatry today.



Shin Splints Treatment for Various Types

The best treatment for shin splints will depend on the type of splint with which you’re struggling. These are the most common types and treatments we see at South Texas Podiatry:

  • Anterior: When the heel hits the ground or contact phase, the anterior muscles must lower the foot down gradually to the ground and are contracting while lengthening, also known as eccentric contraction. Running on hills makes the anterior muscle group work harder as the foot needs to be picked up higher to clear the ground going uphill and be controlled better on descent going downhill to prevent foot slap. An adjustment in the way you move your foot as you run can help with this.
  • Posterior: Use of motion control running shoes or orthotics is often a quick fix for this condition. Physical therapy often helps speed relief.
  • Lateral: Attention to running position, lateral shoe wedges and orthotics designed for supinators may be treatment options. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you show me how to run properly to avoid shin splints?

Absolutely. If you’re struggling with proper biomechanics for finding shin splint pain relief, Dr. Davis can show you techniques that can help you run more effectively and without high degrees of pain.

Will surgery be necessary to treat my shin splints?

Not always. Dr. Davis is passionate about providing the least invasive treatment possible and will explore other avenues before recommending surgery. Should surgery be required, South Texas Podiatry is fully equipped to help.

Can you help me select the correct orthotics to help with my shin splints?

Absolutely, and in fact, we recommend consulting Dr. Davis before you purchase inserts over the counter. Most store bought inserts or “orthotics” are essentially arch supports, which can actually make it easier to sprain one’s ankle.

How can I get started with the best foot and ankle specialist near me?

If you are looking for the best podiatrist in San Antonio, Texas, you’ve come to the right place. Shin splints and other foot and ankle ailments shouldn’t put you on the sidelines. If you or a loved one are in need of a foot doctor, visit our office at 109 Gallery Circle, Suite 119, San Antonio, Texas 78258, or call us at (210) 490-3668 to get more information.