What Are Shin Splints?
“Shin splints” is an umbrella term often used to relate pain below the knee along the shin bone or even in the calf. Pain is felt either along the front of the shin bone or along the back of the bone especially in the lower third closer to the foot. It is an inflammatory problem in nature but if left unattended it may even progress to stress fractures developing.
Causes of Shin Splints
Shin splints are common in dancing, and other activities which involve repeated jumping and impact. It is usually as a result of altered stability and movement patterns in the lower limb and pelvis. Symptoms often increase over time as opposed to a sudden onset of pain.
Other causes that may lead to shin pain are:-
- Sudden increase or change in dance activity
- Change of dance surface e.g. hard or raked stage surface
- Poor foot biomechanics 1. pronating 2. stiff mid foot (see foot type article)
- Shortened / tight deep calf muscles (these will pull on the bone more)
- Over use tibialis anterior muscle (front of shin)when the body weight is held back over the heels as opposed to towards the balls of the feet.
- Reduced dynamic pelvic control. This refers to muscular control especially when standing on 1 leg, such as a fondu or retire.
Recovery time can be dependent on the length of time of the problem. If caught early pain can disappear within a few days with guided treatment and home exercises. For more chronic problems recovery time will be longer.
Treatment will need to be guided by your physiotherapist and will include exercises, stretches and postural correction. Dancing will need to be modified to avoid the aggravating jumping movements until pain has improved.