Therapeutic Treatments for Shin Splints

Medial tibial stress syndrome, more commonly known as “shin splints,” is a common complaint of many runners and other active people. The British Journal of Sports Medicine has reported that shin splints account for approximately 10 to 15 percent of all injuries attributed to running.

Classified as a repetitive stress injury, shin splints are painful and commonly caused by overusing or exerting too much stress on the shin (actually, the tibialis anterior muscle) and the surrounding connective tissues.

Other Factors that Increase Susceptibility for Shin Splints

– People with “flat feet” or overpronation are more likely to get shin splints because the impact of their step causes their arch, which is inadequate to begin with, to collapse. That overstretches their muscles and tendons.

– Poor flexibility

– Hard surfaces

Footstrike: Aim for a mid-foot strike. Those who land heel-first have decreased shock absorption, which increases the strain put on the calves and Achilles tendon.

– It is also worthy to note that irregular exercisers, who have gained weight over the years, have an increased chance of developing shin splints due to  increased pressure on muscles and joints – especially for new runners.

Shin splints can be prevented and treated in many ways. One of the best preventative method is to receive regular sports massage therapy.

A sports massage therapist will work to relieve tension and knots (myofascial trigger points) in the muscle. The tibialis anterior muscle is one of 14 major trigger points – which explains why shin splints are such a common complaint among active people.

Simply put, sports massage therapy sessions help prevent injury and reduce recovery time during training or after an event by improving flexibility and reducing muscle fatigue.

Reasons Sports Massage Therapy is Worth Your Time:

  1. A study conducted by Margaret Jones, Ph.D. of the American College of Sports Medicine, demonstrated a notable trend toward decreased muscle soreness in the athletes who received massage either before or after exercise.
  1. Sports massage is a technique that can be specifically tailored to the person and their activity of choice. This is done by targeting areas of the body that are receiving repetitive usage and, thus, stress.
  1. Massage therapists have the ability to target muscle-tendon junctions and specifically target the calf muscle – a muscle whose strength plays a major role for the injury-prone.
  1. Harmful metabolic byproducts are efficiently removed. In addition, blood flow and nutrient delivery are improved.

Since shin splints commonly occur without any warning, it is smart to take as many preventative measures as possible – especially people in the middle of training in anticipation of a race or other athletic event. Exercising before recovery could lead to a permanent injury, so it is important to have patience as your body heals.

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