Shin Splints or Anterior lower leg pain?

  1. My second post is here! Actually, this will be my first actual post. My first post was more of an introduction but I am excited to post about an actual injury that plagues many, not only, runners but athletes as well. The infamous “shin splints”. The lower leg pain that many people do not understand why it happens to them. I even had a patient today tell me about one of her other friends that was trying to give her some tips on how to treat shin splints but her friend also mentioned that they really never go away for as long as you are running. First and foremost I want to let everyone know this is completely false information.  Before I dive into how “shin splints” can be treated, fixed and prevented I would like to get into the word itself.

“Shin splints” as most people call it, is typically referred to as a lower leg pain that occurs when you first start running. It is common to get an injury like this in the running community most often. In my line of work my fellow AT and I prefer not to call any type of lower leg pain “shin splints”. We see that it is too often mistaken for other types of lower leg pain or injuries that occur with people who run a lot. There are so many types of lower leg injuries that they all could not be categorized as “shin splints” because it is too relative of term to be used for completely different types of lower leg pain. If anything, the one type of lower leg injury that I would have to refer to as a shin splint would be the pain and tightness that many runners begin to experience on the front lateral (outside) part of the lower leg. Still, I’d like to refer to this type of injury as a tibialis anterior strain or even a type of biomechanical overload of the tibialis anterior muscle.

The tibialis anterior muscle is that same muscle that gets really tight and painful on the front lateral side of the lower leg that people like to refer to as “shin splints”. This muscle becomes tight and irritated with a certain type of gait. Gait for all of you common non medical folks is how you walk, run or ambulate moving forward. A very common running gait that people make the mistake of doing is an overstride heel strike. Now do not go and tell everyone that heel striking gait is bad this is a very common misconception. Heelstrike is where your foot is pointed up in dorsiflexion and hits the ground with the heel first then rolls through, most people walk this way. A lot of people attribute heel strike to being a bad way of running but it is not, it is more about where you land with that heelstrike. In my clinic it is probably most common with heelstrikers to overstride which is the foot placement out in front of your body making a really big stride out in front of you center of mass (CoM). A lot of fancy words here to describe this kind of gait but you can refer to the pictures for a reference. You could always google or YouTube overstride and heelstrike but it might lead you to some rabbit holes on why heelstrike is bad but it could help identify if this is your problem.

Now then, overstride has been shown to be an improper manner of running that leads to many running injuries because of the impact forces it has on the body. These can lead to so many injuries and the most common one is the “shin splints”. Again, heelstriking is not a bad thing but if you suffer from the strain on that anterior musculature then you might want to switch to a midfoot running style. Continue reading “Shin Splints or Anterior lower leg pain?”

My first blog post

Hello all,

after some technical issues I have finally got my website running. I have never done anything like this so bear with me. I have created this blog for multiple reasons:

  1. My love for sports medicine and running. I am somewhat new to running, I only started running around 1 year ago and I had some ups and downs over the past year. I have always been somewhat active throughout my life. I love playing basketball and will do so at a moments notice but being busy with life and family I have never kept up with playing bball. It was always too much of an inconvenience and I never had time to play. I started a new job at a military institution where most injuries were running related. My job required me to learn more about running injuries and how to fix these injuries. Another part of my job is preventing said injuries and in order for me to do that I embraced and was more involved with running as a culture itself. I learned to love and get better at running over the past year. My first race was a half marathon where I finished in 2:10 hours! I never imagined I could have ever achieved such a goal in my lifetime. Before I started running the longest run I had ever completed was a 5 miler I did with a friend that led me to be sore for several days. Before that 5 miler I only ran 1-2 miles at a time and was never a constant thing. But here I am 1 year later with around 400 miles under my belt.
  2. Income: So one of the first articles/blogs I read about starting your own blog and why you should leads me to my second reason. If I could start a blog for something I really like doing and get paid for it then why not?! I am not writing a blog just to add more income but it would be nice to see this grow into something more where I could earn a little more on the side, but it is not my sole purpose here.
  3. Community and support: One of the bigger reasons for this blog is to express my love for helping others and hoping to help others through their running endeavors. This blog will be geared towards sports medicine in running. That includes running injuries, preventative sports med in running, gait re-training (looking at run form), working through injuries, things to look for with running injuries, corrective exercises to help improve running, etc. This is not for running performance, I am not a coach, this is to help give advice on running related injuries and prevent them. That aspect of my job is what helps get trainees in the military back to RTT and is what I love best about it.

I really hope this blog will help people in the future so I encourage any and all types of feedback. Running is the basis for all sports, so whether you’re an avid runner or a soccer player running still relates to your health and future. Would love to hear from what you think so please leave comments and I will try my best to answer all!

– SA running ATC (athletic trainer certified)