Shin splints anyone? Professional advice on shin pain


Image credit: http://www.sfkids.org

I found a really cool blog the other day searching through wordpress.  It is a great shoe blog written  by a Doctor of Podiatry.  It’s called Dr. Jenny Sanders Shoe Blog.  She does great writting regarding proper shoes.  Not just running shoes either, but all types of shoes.

She is a podiatrist who has been practicing in the Financial District of San Francisco since 1990. Here is what she says about herself, “At some point early in my career, I started to realize that many of the foot problems I encountered were directly related to improperly fitting or excessively worn shoes. So, I did what any shoe loving, problem solving, insatiably curious podiatrist would do – I let my patient’s feet and shoes teach and guide me toward a more comprehensive understanding of shoes, feet, fit and how when ignored, almost certainly leads to pain.”

So I asked her to write a guest blog here at run4change because she is a pro. and a lot of you have asked me about shin splints from running and/or walking.  So here it is:

Shin splints can occur for a variety of reasons. Here are the most common causes I see in my office.

1.  Shoes – A soft lateral midsole or simply excessive wear can cause shin splints.

2.   Alignment– A condition called tibial varum (bowed legs) can predispose a person to shin splints as this causes the pull of the muscle to be angled versus straight, causing pulling away from the lower leg bone (tibia). If a person’s tibial varum is significant, it can also cause Achilles tendonitis or even a stress fracture of the tibia which becomes a serious problems activity wise.

3.   Over-training or changing running surface or terrain.

Whenever I have a patient in my office having shin splints, I do a thorough treadmill evaluation with shoes on and off and make specific recommendations if the problem is the shoe. If the problem is biomechanical (alignment)I will usually make a custom orthotic, especially if the pain has been long standing. If the problem is acute I will try taping, icing and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications. If this doesn’t work and the pain is really severe, I will probably do a cortisone injection, which typically works very well. If the problem is over-training I have the person back it up and if it’s a change in terrain, I’ll recommend softer trails and/or fewer hills until the pain lets up. Physical therapy can also help.

Hope this helps.

Dr. Sanders

4 Responses to “Shin splints anyone? Professional advice on shin pain”

  1. February 12, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Awesome. I just bought new shoes, so that is helping when I jog, but yesterday I still had pain in my shins. My chiropractor said to tape just under my knee. That’s my next step. If that still doesn’t work, I’ll go see a podiatrist for orthotics. 🙂 Thanks for asking her to share her expertise. It’s really great info.

  2. February 12, 2009 at 8:52 am

    I know the rest of the post is great, but I couldn’t get past the photo that came with it. I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cute baby feet. AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 4 run4change
      February 12, 2009 at 9:35 am

      HAHAHAHA, me too, I thought that that pic was awesome. I knew people would like it. How could you not?:)

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