Chronic Injuries 2: Shin Splints and Plantar Fasciitis

“The knee bone’s connected to the foot bone…”

Continuing from our ITB Syndrome article – we now move down the body to explain how fascia and muscular tightness can cause these common problems our Sydney Physiotherapists see…

What are Shin Splints?

Sydney Physio Shin Split

Sydney Physio Shin Split

The ITB fascia is very strong around the knee to provide support to the joint, it then extends along the tibia and inserts into the plantar fascia of the foot.

Shin Splints, otherwise known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndromes (MTSS) are a term for most pain felt along the anterior leg adjacent to the shin either anterior or medial (either side of the shin bone).

There are other common causes for pain in this area so it’s important to get the right diagnosis which is why we recommend you visit our Sydney Massage and Physiotherapy practice so we can determine the best treatment for you.

Should you press down the shin either side and feel pain in one sharp point you may have a stress fracture (which can occur from prolonged MTSS) or compartment syndrome; both will require R.I.C.E. and further treatment. MTSS affects the whole stretch of the shin from knee to ankle/foot, or at least the lower 2 thirds.

MTSS is common with ITB Syndrome as it too is normally related to tightness and inflammation in the fascia from rubbing against the knee and, in this case the tibia also, during activity.

It can be worsened by running on uneven terrain or imbalance in the plantar fascia…

Sydney Physio Foot PainWhat is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis can be common with symptoms of shin splints and ITB syndrome as this is all systematic of an imbalance in the spiral fascial line. When treating any of the 4 problems discussed in this series of articlea the Plantar Fascia will be assessed.

The Fascia that supports the movement and bounce of the foot is the Plantar Fascia which you can picture as a triangular structure between the heel, sole and ball of the foot. Plantar Fasciitis sometimes produces symptoms of ‘dropped arches’ or ‘flat feet’ which are clear indicators that the loop of fascia that supports the foot arch is out of balance.

The Plantar fascia of the medial side of the foot attaches to the Fascia of the Tibialis Anterior. And it is often this tension in the Tibial Fascia that will pull someone’s plantar fascia out of line; yet also commonly poor foot wear or an uneven posture will cause the plantar muscles and fascia to have to work hard to stabilise and this can cause imbalance in the rest of the leg in the symptoms discussed in this series of articles, ITB Syndrome, Shin Splints and Piriformis Syndrome (next article)

treatment for foot pain sydney physiotherapistExercise

It is good practice to energize these areas pre run with active movements.

Roll your foot across a spikey ball or roller to flex your plantar tissue, rotate your ankle slowly clockwise then counter-clockwise to flex and extend your Tibialis anterior, use your fist to pummel your ITB from knee to hip and across your Piriformis (side of glute) to help open up the fibrous connections between the dermal and deeper fascia.

Actively stretch the Piriformis and ITB by lifting your knee across your body, use your hands to feel a good stretch and don’t hold for more than 5 seconds unless you arm warm.foot strapping physio sydney

Don’t forget to also stretch your quads and calves with some lunges.

Our Sydney Physios might strap your foot to provide additional support whilst the fascia stretches and the damaged tissues heal so you can exercise.

If you are getting either of the pains discussed here, it’s important to seek help from a Sports Physiotherapist like the team at Sydney Physico City prior to commencing training. With the right treatment you can be helped and better than ever!

If you exercise through the pain it could get worse, so don’t delay, call us on 9267 3775