Massage for Shin Splints

Definition:  Chronic Strain of the anterior and/or posterior tibialis muscles.
(also may be anterior compartment syndrome or stress fractures of  the tibia)

Causes: overuse syndrome from repetitive stressful movements such as running or jogging.  May be a result of imbalanced posture:  poor arch support , poor flexibility of anterior and posterior compartments, posterior tibialis tendonitis, hypertonic anterior compartments from overuse.  Misalignment of lower leg muscles, ankles, knees may cause microtears in the muscles with overuse (excessive pronation).

Signs/Symptoms: pain, swelling and tenderness along the crest of the tibia, either posteriomedial or anteriolateral.

Structures involved: interosseous membrane, tibialis anterior, tibialis posterior at the attachments to the tibia (which is the entire length of the muscle bellies as it attaches to the periosteum of the tibia.

Treatment goals:  relieve swelling, decrease muscle tension, prevent adhesions, lymphatic drainage
Treatment Plan:
Have stress fractures ruled out.
Deep tissue technique to release the anterior compartment.   Client laying supine, practitioner at side by lower leg.  Place elbow on tibialis anterior just below knee.  Have client bring toes up, foot up and step down with their heel as you glide deeply along the muscle, staying away from the bone.  repeat to clear every inch of the muscles.
Release gastocnemius/soleus.
Balance pelvis – adductors, hip rotators, quads, hamstrings, psoas, rectus abdominus.
Hydrotherapy: Ice, followed by stretching. Alternating ice/heat, ending in ice.  Ice after activity.

Stretch before and after activity.

Other therapies:  acupuncture, nutritional support from Naturopath, physical therapy, chiropractic.

Shin Splints or Compartment Syndrome? By Whitney Lowe, LMT, NCTMB

What are shin splints?

Which shin splints is the “real” shin splints: compartment syndrome, medial tibial stress syndrome, or stress fracture?

Shin pain is routinely misunderstood and mistreated

What “causes” shin splints?

The main risk factor for shin splints: tissue overload

What can you do about shin splints?

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