The pain brought about by the tightening of the posterior muscles of the lower leg (which are responsible for plantar flexion of the foot) is known as posterior shin splints.
Chronic in nature, the pain aggravates over time when left untreated. Such pain causes difficulties in the performance of daily activities, especially those which require constant mobility around the workplace.
However, one must not worry too much because posterior shin splints treatment procedures are readily available that will help eliminate shin splints completely.
The Treatment of Posterior Shin Splints
Posterior shin splints, as the name suggests, are felt around the posterior and medial part of the lower leg. The pain starts usually when one stands on the balls of the feet for a prolonged period of time, or if one inverts the ankle abruptly.
The muscles which tighten include the gastrocnemius, soleus, plantaris and the tibialis posterior, which connects to the metatarsals of the foot. Posterior shin splints treatment will initially start with periods of resting and inactivity, with the avoidance of repetitive stressful activities in the lower extremities for about seven to fourteen days. An orthopedic doctor may actually advise using crutches as walking can be quite painful.
If there is pain induced by weight-bearing on the affected leg, an air stump brace may be used. Immediate posterior shin splints treatment may also be in the form of oral medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or Cox-2 inhibitors.
Analgesics may also help reduce the pain on the posterior tibial muscles. Orthotic devices such as ankle and foot splints may also be given. These thermoplastic materials are moulded to the body such that they prevent the foot from going to plantarflexion, thus causing the activation of the tibialis posterior and other muscles of the calf.
Posterior shin splints treatment may also be in the form of rehabilitation, which usually takes a longer time to work compared to the medical treatment itself. A physical therapist may utilize modalities utilize modalities to assist with physical exercise, such as icing, ultrasound and electrical stimulation (through trans-electrical nerve stimulation).
As soon as the posterior shin splints symptoms have diminished, the focus of rehabilitation will be on improving the flexibility, strength and endurance of the lower leg.
The physical therapist may also provide anterior compartment stretching exercises which are directed at the Achilles tendon (to which the posterior tibial muscles are attached), and while this is being done, the antagonistic muscle groups will be involved in eccentric strengthening. Lastly, the physical therapist will ensure that the range of motion for both the affected and unaffected lower limb are symmetrical and are within normal limits.
Posterior shin splints treatment is always individualized, because of the differences in the anatomical structures and bio-mechanic capacities of each person. Even recommendations on the type of orthotic devices may vary. One treatment procedure may work well for a person who exhibits certain posterior shin splints symptoms but may not be effective to another who already had a history of shin splints. It is then important to consult your doctor about this before choosing a treatment path.
Having covered how posterior shin splints are treated it must be added, as is done throughout this blog, that these treatments are only treatments of the symptoms of shin splints and do not treat the root cause of the problem, so there is no guarantee that after treatment you will not be struck down again with shin splints and this is why knowing how to prevent shin splints is important when trying to reduce instances of the condition.
For information about a 5 step treatment plan which has been proven to eliminate shin splints completely click here
Have a great shin splints free day!