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Tactical Athletes Overuse Injuries: Shin Splints


Tactical Athletes Overuse Injuries: Shin Splints

Tactical Athletes Overuse Injuries: Shin Splints

Welcome to part two of Athletix Rehab and Recovery’s series on overuse injuries in the military and tactical athlete! In part one, we discussed a typical overuse injury leading to knee pain (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome). As a review, overuse injuries are any injury to the muscle, tendon, or joint from repetitive stress or trauma and are very commonly seen in the military.

Part two of this series looks at Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, more commonly known as “shin splints”. Shin splints are an injury to the inside portion of your lower leg as a result of inflammation to the muscles, tendons, or bone in the associated area. Though the exact cause of shin splints is unknown, it’s onset is usually associated with changing footwear and running surface, abrupt changes in training stimulus, and high impact activity such as running or jumping. 

To learn more about shin splints and how Athletix can help ease your pain, contact our office today.

What Are the Symptoms of Shin Splints?

There are many symptoms associated with shin splints, including the following:

  • Sharp pain during exercise or dull aching pain afterward, located in the front and inside part of the shin
  • Weakness in the muscles of the lower leg such as the soleus or posterior tibialis
  • Tightness in the lower legs
  • Poor running mechanics
  • Poor balance and proprioception

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you need to get checked out!  It is important to examine underlying imbalances associated with shin splints. Here at Athletix, your therapist can conduct a thorough gait analysis, measure your range of motion, perform strength and balance tests, and assess your footwear to create a customized plan of care.

Myths About Shin Splints

Shin splints are pretty common in tactical athletes, but there are also a lot of false beliefs out there. Read on and see if you’ve heard any of the following myths regarding medial tibial stress syndrome.

  1. I have shin splints because I have pain in the front of my shins.

False. Other injuries need to be ruled out by our team such as nerve entrapment, stress fracture, muscle strain, and/or compartment syndrome. Treating these other conditions as if they are shin splints can lead to even further injury.

  1. As long as you avoid running on hard surfaces you won’t get shin splints.

False. It is possible to get shin splints on any surface if the body is not adapting or tolerant to the load it must accept during high impact activity. In the case of running, the body must be able to tolerate 2.5-4x your body weight repetitively.

  1. Strength training and stretching alone can fix my shin splints.

False. While it’s important to continue strength training and stretching, a thoughtful assessment of movement patterns and underlying pathology can go a long way in your exercise routine. To treat and prevent shin pain, corrective exercises can be prescribed by a physical therapist to make sure you are doing the right exercises, not just taking a shot in the dark that may be wasting your time or even making matters worse.

Contact Us Today 

Here at Athletix Rehab & Recovery, we make it our top priority to see our patients through to the end of their treatment. We want to ensure that you are educated about your condition and understand that our therapists are here to help you every step of the way to recovery. 

Contact us today to learn more about your treatment options for shin splints, and don’t forget to check back for part three of our “Tactical Athletes Overuse Injuries” series!


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