Is shin pain getting on your nerves?

shinpostNow is the time of year where the streets are being pounded by the thousands of runner’s vigorously in training for spring Marathons. Although tired, most will be coping with and enjoying the training; the benefits of reduced stress, weight loss and lots of feel good chemicals going round their bodies. Unfortunately for some, pain and injury will curb this enjoyment.

The most common areas of the body to cause problems for runners are the knees and the shins. The dreaded ‘shin splints’ has been a handicap for many runners over the years.

We shouldn’t really refer to this issue as ‘shin splints’, since this is old fashioned medical terminology. There are more than 28 different conditions which cause shin pain, so medical specialists should be giving you a more defined term rather than ‘shin splints’.

A less known reason for getting shin pain is where one of the nerves in the legs become irritated. This can happen because of previous damage to the legs, tight or weak muscles, stiffness in the back or hip region, foot setup issues and even running in worn-out or the wrong type of trainers.

This type of shin pain will commonly present with pain on the inner side of the lower leg bone and sometimes also around the bony bit of the inside of the ankle joint. It can really hamper someone’s training for the marathon or even spoil the day itself if running run in excruciating pain and miss the amazing crowds and sights of running round London.

The nerves around our body are designed to glide and slide as we bend, twist and move around. If there is a problem in the body with tight muscles or joints it can lead to the nerve getting ‘sticky’ or restricted in its movements. In turn this pulls an area of the nerve more than normal which can then irritate it and cause painful inflammation or swelling around the area.

Help is at hand though. After a comprehensive assessment to find out what is going on, there are some great exercises which can help to loosen up tight muscles and joints, which can assist the nerves to glide and slide better. These nerve ‘flossing’ exercises have got many a runner back on course with their training and seen them happily cross the finish line of races.

Worrying about an injury often raises our stress levels which in turn often raises the level of pain felt. Quite often being told what is going on with our bodies and how it can be fixed can reduce some of this stress.

Not all shin pain is the same, and exercises for one person can make things worse for someone else. If you are suffering from shin pain and you are getting worried about a looming race or event, strike now and get booked in to see a healthcare provider who can get you back to running ways as quickly as possible.Robert Grainger MSc MCSP MHPC CSCSPractice Principle PhysioFixx Physiotherapy ClinicSports Physiotherapist

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