What causes shin splints according to  Dr. Charschan?

What causes shin splints according to  Dr. Charschan?

If you run, you could have experienced shin splints.   This is especially true if you are bowlegged, have high arches, or have flat feet.

While many sources including USA Today describe shin splints as an overuse injury that results in micro-tears along the front of the shins, the overuse myth is alive and well in many doctor’s belief systems.

The truth about shin pain in runners and other sports.

In my experience, based on over 26 years as the Medical Director for USATF NJ, shin splints can be felt as knee pain just below the knee, in the lower shin, or even in the posterior medial part of the shin as well.

Shin splints are not one condition but a layperson explanation used to help people understand why their shins hurt when running.

While it is true that building up mileage too fast can cause the problem to exacerbate, many runners never have these issues.   There is a one-size-fits-all belief system most people hear when they search Google for an answer, but different body styles, builds, and weights result in shin pain.

Ultimately, shin splints are a problem of impact, and how the body absorbs shock.  Perhaps, this is why deep pocket design shoes such as HOKA are so popular because they force the runner to heel strike less and mid-foot strike more, reducing impact.  Continued impact problems often cause stress fractures in the foot and leg which are avoidable with a better understanding of why the runner is impacting so forcefully.

To understand this, you must look above the shins and below them to fully understand body style, bad running habits, and recommendations for asymmetrical mechanics which can include foot orthotics, chiropractic care, and myofascial work which can reduce impact and reduce the risk of shin pain, plantar fasciitis, and other common running problems.

What you can do to help prevent shin splints.

Better pre-run routines can also help including gluteal kicks, balancing, lower leg exercises, and foot drills which strengthen the structures exposed to running impact. These exercises and more are regularly taught to our patients.

Sports chiropractors are uniquely qualified to evaluate and treat runners experiencing shin pain, and plantar fasciitis because of how they are trained to evaluate and treat the body holistically.   Many chiropractors are one-stop shops for everything musculoskeletal.  Keeping things simple works best and chiropractors will evaluate, and treat using myofascial techniques, use joint manipulation which improves mobility and decreases impact as well as recommend foot orthotics if needed.

While the health system has segmented care more and more, chiropractic sports physicians take a primary care approach to this and manage the entire problem of impact and movement rather than multiple people who do not coordinate well.  In the worst cases, the doctor will refer you if necessary although treadmill evaluations can often help too and these are done simply with a video of your running gait.

Resolving shin splints does not have to be complicated.  It just needs to be holistic, realistic and focused on why you have the problem rather than a mechanized one-size-fits-all approach to care and diagnosis.

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