What Are Shin Splints?

If you're asking the question, what are shin splints, you may have been feeling some pain in the area of your shin, which is your tibia bone. Shin splints is a general term for pain anywhere in the lower leg. Some experts define it as medial tibial pain along the proximal two-thirds of the bone while others say it is any long lasting pain on the medial surface of the tibia and the distal two-thirds of the lower leg without signs of a stress fracture.

What are Shin Splints? A Muscle Imbalance Problem

Shin splints can be a problem with the tibialis anterior muscle or the tibialis posterior muscle. The tibialis anterior muscle is actually related to your foot and not just your lower leg because it inserts into two bones of the foot between the medial cuneiform and the first metatarsal. This muscle allows you to lift the top of your foot towards your lower leg and invert your foot.

What Are Shin Splints? A Tibialis Anterior Problem

There are three different situations where the tibialis anterior muscle causes shin splints: if this muscle is inflamed, if it is weak, and if it is overused and there are also tight calf muscles. The tibialis anterior muscle supports your medial longitudinal arch, thus, wearing orthotic arch supports can help shin splints.

By strengthening this muscle and stretching the calf muscles called the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, you can help reverse the imbalance and stop the pain for good. But you'll still need adequate support of the foot with orthotic arch supports, such as the Superfeet Premium Insoles, or 10 Seconds Insoles.

What Are Shin Splints? A Tibialis Posterior Problem

The tibialis posterior muscle also is very important for shin splints. This muscle starts from the inside back border of the tibia and the fibula and the medial malleolus and ends in several locations:

  • it ends at different locations “ one part at the bases of every metatarsal except for the big toe and the cuboid bone
  • another part ends at the second and third cuneiform bone
  • the main part ends at the navicular bone and the sole side of the first cuneiform
  • another part ends at the heel bone, the calcaneus

Can you imagine how if a muscle is connected to so many bones of the foot, it can send pain up to the shin bone when there is a misalignment of any kind or when the muscles are overused? This is exactly what happens when someone pronates their foot too much during standing, or during running.

Its a known fact that the tibialis posterior is the most important muscle in maintaining foot stability when you stand, walk, run or jump. When tibiialis posterior is stressed too much, the foot collapses into hyperpronation, which fatigues the muscle and then causes overuse of the anterior leg muscles that cause shin splints. It might seem kind of crazy how there are so many different steps to make this happen, but thats how it is.

Are You Pronating Your Foot Too Much?

Its so important to know if you are hyper-pronating your foot that experts created a way to measure if this is a problem. Its called the navicular differential. Heres what to do:
  • From a sitting position with your foot on a flat surface, measure the height of the navicular tuberosity in millimeters.
  • Now stand up and take the same measurement.
  • The difference should be 10 mm. If the number is 15 mm or more, you have an issue with abnormal pronation of your feet.

And abnormal pronation of your feet will cause shin splints, guaranteed. This was discovered in 1983. Abnormal pronation also leads to low back pain as well, and you don't want that! Again, orthotic arch supports are going to make the world of a difference to insure proper arch function. Abnormal pronation is linked to other common injuries such as plantar fascitis, heel pain, blisters, and knee pain insoles can help those with any of these disorders by helping to reset the proper alignment of the foot. By preventing the overuse of the muscles that lead to an over-collapse of the arch, the feet wont tire out as quickly. Always remember that support of the foot is everything if you want to be active and successful in sports as an athlete.

An Extra Tip For Those With Shin Splints

Doctors and orthopedic experts report that runners could be training incorrectly and cause shin splints as well. The most common training errors are:

  • Sudden increase in mileage
  • Changes in the running surface
  • A sudden increase in speed
  • Running on sloped surfaces

Are you making any of these training errors and asking the question, what are shin splints? If so, consider changing the way you train and change the biomechanics of your feet by providing the right support. You'll be amazed at the results.

Come check out the best line-up of Orthotic Arch Supports at TheInsoleStore.com, today!

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