Shin splints. Podiatrists across Melbourne are seeing more and more people suffering shin pain.
At PridePlus Health, our team have been helping runners and walkers alike get rid of their shin splints for many years.
Although, often podiatrists are not the first point of call for someone suffering shin pain.
When I reflect back on my own practice most clients I’ve seen who have battled with shin splints had already had a trip to their GP, physio or maybe a massage therapist prior to coming to see me.
And who can blame them?
When we are in pain we search for answers.
We go to those trusted sources like our GP or our own ability to decipher information out there on the internet.
When it comes to a complex condition like shin splints the answers as to how to fix your shin splints are as varied as they are complex.
And no profession does complex, relating to the foot and ankle, quite like us podiatrists.
Let’s look at how we can help.
When Should You See A Podiatrist For Shin Splints
If you have shin pain that is exercise induced then you need a professional who understands how to assess, diagnose and treat injuries of the leg.
That’s a podiatrist!
Podiatrists have a unique perspective on injuries to the leg as our profession has grown from the ground up.
Podiatrists are experts in how the foot functions and what that means for the rest of your body.
As shin splints are an overuse condition of either the shin bone or tendons around the shin a podiatrist can work out why this is happening.
Is it that there’s not enough capacity for those tissues to do the work you’re asking?
Or is it that there’s a few biomechanical issues there which you can optimise to reduce the peak loading?
What about whether it is even shin splints?
Podiatrists are skilled at the art of assessment and diagnosis so can differentiate and diagnose between similiar conditions including the dangerous compartment syndrome.
In Australia podiatrists are able to refer for ancillary services like imaging (X Rays, Ultrasound, CT or MRI) to assist with your diagnosis as well.
So, if you have shin pain and you’re looking for a diagnosis and solution.
A podiatrist is your answer.
How Can A Podiatrist Help Shin Splints
Ok so now you know about the importance of seeing a podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis.
But what next.
You know you have shin splints.
How can your podiatrist guide you through your journey towards pain free shins?
Podiatrists can treat shin splints with a combination of load optimisation and capacity building.
Load optimisation is the skill of reducing any pathological over-load and bringing our bodies back into their comfort zones.
A running plan including mileage prescription or gait training could be used too.
Capacity building goes hand in hand with load optimisation.
All our tissues have the “plastic” ability to be trained. Bones can be made stronger. As can muscles and tendons. Even our minds ability to interpret negative painful stimuli can be trained.
With so many areas here there are lots of different options for your podiatrist to treat your shin splints. Almost always a thorough shin splints treatment plan will involve some exercises.
What About Other Team Members
When we have opportunity to work together as a team we can achieve incredible results.
This goes for shin splints in particular as load optimisation, re-training and capacity building require diligent work.
For great results completing regular exercises and training with an exercise physiologist to build strength and resilience is really beneficial.
A physiotherapist is also another great team member here.
Physios are skilled in both hands on and hands off treatment options. Getting hands on to change some neural responses with sports massage techniques can be just the relief painful shins are crying out for.
But physios skills don’t stop there!
Physiotherapists can also provide excellent exercise prescription for capacity building and rehab of overload tissues.
Other members of your health team can help manage shin splints including dietitians to ensure appropriate fuel for healing. GP’s to guide referral funding pathways and complex comorbidities. Running coaches and personal trainers to facilitate your return to activities in your community.
But, if you have shin splints and you’re in need of a thorough diagnosis and plan, then seeing your podiatrist is an excellent first step.