The symptom of Shin Splints is pain with every step that worsens when walking quickly or running.
Shin splints develop as a result of poor foot mechanics cause by footwear use. The muscles involved are those that are primarily responsible for stabilizing the foot and ankle.
The tibialis anterior is the main muscle that lifts (dorsiflexes) the foot. It connects to the front of the tibia or shin bone.
The posterior tibialis is the muscle that pulls the foot down and inward. It connects along the back and inside edge of the tibia.
Both muscles attach to the inside of the bones that form the foot’s medial arch and are involved in stabilizing the foot’s arch system.
Optimally, the muscles that stabilize the foot’s arch system should fire prior to that foot’s ground contact in anticipation of expected ground contact weight bearing and propulsion related forces. This muscle firing optimizes the efficiency of the arch system with the least degree of damaging stress.
Shin splints are usually caused by overuse, because of the following:
The tibialis muscles are doing too much too quickly
The tibialis muscles are firing insufficiently or too late
There is maladapted neuromuscular function
This creates an unstable arch system that easily collapses during weight bearing. As the arch collapses, there is a corresponding sudden increase in tension on the tibialis muscles. This sudden increased tension puts excessive stress on the tibialis muscles that leads to damage where the muscles attach to the tibia.
Over time, the edges of the muscles begin to microtear and pull away from the bone, which causes inflammation and pain.
Modern science has identified that the nervous system plays a critical role in stabilizing the feet and ankles when walking or running. It is now understood that poor foot mechanics is a symptom of inefficient neuromuscular function caused by conventional footwear use. In fact, conventional footwear use causes poor neuromuscular function throughout the feet, legs, hips, and back, when:
the soles of the feet don’t receive the subtle, varied stimulus that the nervous system requires for healthy function, and
snug toe boxes, stiff midsoles/outsoles/uppers and tight lacing restrict healthy foot movement.
To learn more about the latest science, click HERE.
The best way to prevent and treat shin splints is to retrain optimal neuromuscular function and to use footwear that is soft, flexible, and roomier in the forefoot.
Conventional treatment methods for shin splints
Since the late 1890s, the standard treatment for shin splint related poor foot mechanics has been to artificially support the arches with an orthotic. Other conventional treatment options include:
Therapy to heal the damaged tissues
Modern science has transitioned away from using long-term support and cushioning on any body part because it causes a progressive weakening of the body part being supported or cushioned.
The modern approach to treating shin splints
Science underscores the body's inherent ability to restore and improve its own function when presented with the appropriate challenges. This principle lies at the heart of contemporary therapeutic methods used to correct and enhance neuromuscular function, particularly in foot health.
Therapeutic rehabilitation, focusing on the body's natural mechanics and responses, emerges as the safest and most effective strategy for addressing the underlying causes of conditions like shin splints, shifting the focus from temporary relief to long-term health and functionality.
Understanding the Fundamentals:
Proper Technique: This refers to rehabilitative exercises that concentrate on re-establishing optimal neuromuscular function. It's about reinforcing healthy mobility, muscle strength, stability, and alignment in a safe manner.
Right Stimulus and Right Movement: Effective movement is predicated on the quality of sensory information the brain receives, particularly from the soles of the feet. The feet's nerve endings are crucial in transmitting this data, ensuring coordinated movement throughout the musculoskeletal system. When sensory input is compromised—as is often the case with conventional footwear—the body's natural reflexes and movements can be inhibited.
Adopting the Modern Approach:
Barefoot Walking: Engage in barefoot walking, particularly on natural surfaces, as frequently as feasible. This practice delivers the optimal stimulus for healthy neuromuscular function, promoting the right kind of movement.
Utilization of Biopods®: Incorporate Biopods footwear or insoles into your routine. Our footwear is designed to create an ideal environment for proper foot technique, while our insoles are crafted to enhance the sensory feedback in your conventional shoes. For optimal results, use in footwear that is soft, flexible, and allows for natural movement of the arches and toes.
Consultation with Healthcare Professionals: Prior injuries might have led to the formation of fibrotic scar tissue. It's advisable to consult with a healthcare practitioner about therapies that can address these issues to facilitate better foot function.
The modern approach to foot health is integrative and proactive, focusing on encouraging the body's natural ability to heal and maintain itself. It's an investment in your long-term health and wellbeing, steering away from temporary fixes and instead, fostering lasting, comprehensive foot health.
Consult with your healthcare practitioner to ask about employing soft tissue mobilization therapies to address the fibrotic scar tissue that may have formed prior to using Biopods.
For more information on what to expect when using Biopods, click HERE.
* Engineered to provide the perfect blend of stimulus and freedom, our shoes are designed to promote the optimal health of your feet.
Dive into a world where footwear isn’t just an accessory but a means of enhancing your natural foot mechanics and overall well-being.
**Designed to deliver the precise stimulus needed for healthy foot function, these insoles are your first step towards transforming conventional footwear into a platform for improved foot health.
Note: For maximum effectiveness, pair with soft, flexible footwear that's loosely laced. Certain restrictive or heavily cushioned shoes may diminish the insoles' benefits. Consult our Footwear Guide to ensure your shoes are compatible with the Biopods philosophy of promoting foot health.
* Biopods Footwear provides the ideal stimulus to the soles of the feet and freedom of movement required for optimal foot health.
** Biopods Insoles provide the stimulus to the sole's of the feet arch area required for healthy foot function. Use the insoles in soft, flexible, loosely laced footwear for best results.
When used in stiff, restirictive, and cushioned footwear, the insoles' effectiveness diminishes relative to the stiffness, restricitiveness, and cushioining. Some footwear design characteristics are incompatible with healthy foot function and Biopods Insoles. Please see our Footwear Guide for additional information.
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