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Do you have a dull ache on the inner side of your shin, on the front of your leg, that intensifies when you begin exercise? If so you may have developed shin splints. Shin splints is a general term used to describe pain in the front of the lower leg, usually as a result of exercise. In Medial Tibial Stress syndrome the pain is more predominant on the inner aspect of the tibia and involves the tibialis posterior muscle. It is more common in individuals who tend towards excessive pronation issues. In Anterior Tibial Stress syndrome it is the outer border of the tibia that gives the most pain and predominantly involves the tibialis anterior muscle. It occurs more frequently in individuals who have recently increased the level of hill work as the Tibialis Anterior is involved in both dorsiflexion of the foot and as a decelerator for plantar flexion.

Many athletes are prone to shin splints, such as long distance runners, dancers, tennis, basketball, and football players. etc. Failure to warm up properly, or an abrupt increase in training intensity can lead to shin splints, as can running on hard or inclined surfaces, poor technique, or foot abnormalities that place stress on the leg. Shin splints can be also be caused by or complicated with excessively tight calf muscles. The damage is done because the connective muscle tissue surrounding the shin bone becomes traumatised and micro-fractures of the bone develop. If left untreated, an athlete who “runs through” the pain or masks the pain with anti- inflammatory medications, may eventually develop bony stress reactions or micro-fractures (medullary line or cortical abnormality) from the repetitive stress.

Classical Chinese medicine texts discuss what is called the “Seven taxations” which include too much standing, too much sitting and too much walking. In the modern world, this has become too much running or jogging!! There are specific acupuncture points that address these issues and are also used for increasing the health and improving the constitution of the patient according to traditional Chinese medicine theory. One of the major points that treat the “seven taxations” and used for shin splints is shenzheng, a point is actually located about half way between the wrist and elbow and nowhere near the shin.

External herbal medicine is also very effective at treating shin splints; specific formulas aim to reduce inflammation and promote blood flow to assist in faster recovery times.

Chinese medical massage, Tuina is also commonly used to treat the calf muscle, which may be attributing or aggravating the condition.

To treat your shin splints with East Asian medicine techniques, mentioned above, please call us on 01928 898 446 to book an appointment. We are a family-run clinic based in Frodsham, Cheshire. For more information please give us a call.