Lower Leg Injuries

Shin Splints:

Overuse musculotendinous injury that can be caused by abnormal biomechanics, poor conditioning, and improper training. Pain can manifest in two locations: anterior or posterior.

Anterior shin splints:
Pain is on the outside of the lower leg and is associated with those runners who have a loud heel strike when running.

Posterior shin splints:

Pain is on the inside of the lower leg toward the ankle.  In both instances, weak muscles in the lower leg accompanied by improper footwear and running mechanics may exacerbate the symptoms and possibly lead to stress fractures.  Physical therapy is needed to focus on pain reduction, lower extremity flexibility and strengthening, proper running mechanics, and proper footwear.

If the above factors go unchecked, stress fractures may occur. They are usually caused by fatigue and breakdown of the surrounding musculature, subsequently placing greater stress on the bones. Immobilization is required to allow the bone to heal. Surprisingly, stress fractures do not appear on X-rays until after the fracture site starts to heal.

Achilles’ Tendonitis:

Inflammation of the Achilles’ tendon caused by overuse injuries (running, jumping), as well as decreased calf strength and flexibility.  Tenderness and swelling are present over the tendon along with pain with walking, stairs, and running.  Treatment includes ice, anti-inflammatories, flexibility training, and lower extremity strengthening. Foot biomechanics and proper footwear should be addressed as well.