Student Athletes and Shin Splints: What You Need to Know

Acute shin splints that begin a few weeks into a sports season are often due to poor biomechanics caused by new sports shoes.

We often see student athletes that develop shin splint pain after three to four weeks of a new season. Most often they will have just gotten new shoes for their sports and have never had a history of shin splints in the past.

Close evaluation of their footwear reveals the shoe inducing a false forefoot varus that when in weight bearing will lead to accelerated pronation. The posterior tibialis musculature is forced to decelerate this exaggerated pronation and quickly leads to “shin splints.”

Initial treatment will include soft tissue modalities such as ice, electrical stimulation, ultra sound, and even myofascial trigger point massage and release techniques.

Sometimes posting material can be added to an athlete’s shoe to neutralize the abnormal biomechanics caused by the footwear. Occasionally, we must recommend getting different shoes that biomechanically support the student’s foot in proper form.

Unfortunately, not all shoes are created equally. We have found several types of shoes that are very good, but there are some shoes that will lead to shin splint pain very quickly. TEAM Physical Therapy can assist patients, parents, coaches, and friends on selecting a good shoe that is supportive.

A good calf and hamstring stretching program is also an integral part of the rehabilitation program.

Contact your nearest TEAM Physical Therapy office today if your student athlete is experiencing symptoms of shin splints.