Fall sports are in full swing! Is your child in a running sport like cross country or football? Do they complain of pain from shin splints? Have they battled with shin splints every year?
For those that are not familiar with the term shin splints, it is a condition that describes pain along the shinbone which is the large bone in the front of your lower leg. It is also a broad term for all lower leg pain. It is common in athletes who have recently changed or intensified their workout routines.
WHAT CAUSES THE PAIN?
The pain is actually due to the muscles pulling on the bone. The thin layer around the outside of the bone is full of pain receptors. Since muscles attach, by a tendon, to the outer layer of the bone they pull on the bone when they tighten activating those pain receptors.
HOW DOES THE MUSCLE GET TIGHT YOU ASK?
Well, when you wear cleats they do a great job of generating traction with the ground thus creating a strong force. All that energy from the force created has to be dispersed and go somewhere else. You guessed it…it goes to the muscle. Repetitive movement, i.e. long distant running, or weakness in muscles that can not keep up with quick strong changes in directional movement will result in tightening of muscles. The tightening of muscles first causes a pull on the tendon then a pull on the bone to which it is attached.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I DON’T ADDRESS THE PAIN AND CONTINUE TO WORK THOUGH IT?
Actually, if shin splints go untreated and you continue to work though it it can lead to stress fractures in the bone…which hurt!
WHAT CAN I DO TO FIX MY SHIN SPLINTS?
REST WILL NOT FIX THE PROBLEM, though it can ease the pain. What needs to happen is that the dysfunction needs to be addressed. The muscular chain needs to be assessed for that individuals weaknesses and corrective exercises need to be performed. For example, 3 people can experience the same pain but they can have it for 3 different reasons. Meaning they each have different strengths and weaknesses. They could also be in different sports and need different performance goals to get better and perform at their best. The doctors at Southern California Brain Center have had success helping those with this problem by applying Active Release Technique protocols and corrective exercises. Call today to schedule an appointment to support your child athlete and prevent future injuries through their Fall Athletic Season.