Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Mystery Behind the Pain of Shin Splints: PART I Anterolateral Shin Splints

Part I: Anterolateral Shin Splints

Last year, my sister had to withdraw from running in the Chicago marathon. She had already signed up, trained and was ready to go. But in the last week before leaving for her big trip, she bowed out- mainly because of relentless leg pain a.k.a. shin splints. She described the pain as a dull and aching pain the front of her lower leg. An avid runner who had run smaller marathons in the past, she was an active member of the Running Room. She was so disappointed that she would not compete in the Chicago marathon. So, she called me up and asked me all about shin splints, and what she could do to stop the pain.

A shin splint is the pain that happens from damage to the leg muscles along the shin. It is also known as Tibial Stress Syndrome. My sister just recently became a “runner” in the last few years- she wasn’t much of an exerciser when we were younger, but lately she has taken up running as her hobby- and I have to admit she is very good at it and very disciplined.

Shin splints can occur in two locations of the lower leg- depending on which muscle groups are affected is where you will have the pain.

Anterolateral Shin Splints: Here, shin splints affect the front (“antero”) and outside (“lateral”) parts of the shin. Pain is experienced along the front and outside of the shin.

This type of injury occurs when some muscles are stronger than others. This is a natural imbalance in the size of the two muscles working together. The two muscle groups: The shin muscles and the calf muscles do not work in balance together.
During walking and running the shin muscles in the front work to pull the foot up and the calf muscles pull the foot down. The calf muscles exert so much more force that they can injure the shin muscles.

In the beginning, pain is only felt after the heel hits the ground during running. This can progress to pain in every step of running- eventually becoming a constant pain. The pain can get so severe that the shin will hurt even when touched.

Stay Tuned for Part II: Treatment for Anterolateral Shin Splints

Source: The Merck Manual of Medical Info

The Glastonbury Chiropractor is located in central Connecticut- CT Spine and Disc Center specializes in patients who suffer from sciatica, disc degeneration, bulging disc or herniated disc in the lumbar spine. Call our chiropractic office at 860-633-8756 to schedule an appointment and to see if you are a candidate for non surgical spinal decompression

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