What are Shin Splints? 
 
Shin Splints is the generic name given to pain located at the front or outside of one's shin, and is one of the most common complaints for joggers and people involved in high impact sport. It is usually caused and exacerbated by exercise. 
 
It is not generally serious but is painful and can inhibit you from playing sport. This can be due to micro-tears in the muscles causing inflammation, or due to tight muscles and fascia pulling on the tibia bone where they insert. 
 
What causes Shin Splints? 
 
A sudden increase in weight bearing physical activity 
Repetitive and consistent running on hard surfaces, such as roads and pavements 
Poor running technique 
Wearing inappropriate or ill fitting footwear 
Having tight calves 
 
 
The last point is one of the most common reasons I see and treat shin splints. Many people, even those who actively stretch their calf muscles, often forget about the deeper calf muscle, the soleus. 
 
If this muscle is tight, it means the smaller muscles at the front of the shin have to work much harder to overcome the passive tension in the calf muscle, and as a result get tight and fatigued often leading to shin splints. 
 
If this muscle is tight, it means the smaller muscles at the front of the shin have to work much harder to overcome the passive tension in the calf muscle, and as a result get tight and fatigued often leading to shin splints. 
 
How does the Manta foam roller help? 
 
Due to the anatomy of the muscles of the anterior and outer shin, it makes them very difficult to stretch, without forcing the ankle into positions it doesn’t really want to go into. It is possible to do some self massage but it’s hard to get enough pressure through the muscles to make any difference. 
 
The central prongs of the manta roller are the perfect width to glide along the shin muscles, easing the tension in the muscle spindle fibers and fascia that surrounds the muscles, promotes lymphatic drainage and when used on the calf muscles as well, will create a better muscular balance. 
 
If you’re a very active individual and shin splints is a recurrent issue I would consult an osteopath or physio who will be able to assess you biomechanics; talking to a specialist running coach for advice on running technique can also be very useful. 
 
 
Other causes of shin pain 
 
If the pain is persistent or is unusually painful I would consult a physician as there are other causes of shin pain. 
 
Stress Fracture - look out for localised swelling and tenderness with pressure on the shin bone; localised pain at night; doesn’t improve with rest and RICE protocols. 
Muscle or tendon sprain/tear - often leads to bruising; painful on muscle activation, even at rest. 
Compartment Syndrome - intense pain, especially when pointing the foot down and stretching the muscles; tingling or burning sensations can be present. Numbness and weakness can occur in severe cases. 
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