A middle age female aspiring marathon runner came to the clinic complaining of severe shin splints. Shin splints are common in runners and usually cause a deep pressure ache along the front of your shin bone. Her pain was debilitating, forcing her to discontinue running for a few years. Upon evaluation, I noted several issues with her running form through gait & treadmill running analysis including sub-optimal step rate, loud footsteps, excessive pronated feet, lack of single leg stability control, decreased hip flexion and excessive stride length. However, I would like to focus on two in this blog that are likely the largest factors for her return to running safely.
The hip drop (above picture) demonstrated in the photo is a common issue in runner's that can cause low back, knee or foot pain. This gait deviation is most often caused by weakness of the gluteus medius and most often causes iliotibial band syndrome, anterior knee pain, and outside hip pain on the stance leg.
The other photo (below) demonstrates a "shank" angle or Tibial inclination of 13 degrees which imposes higher bone stress to the front compartment of the leg likely directly causing the shin splints, especially runners with heel strike pattern. In addition, it also acts to slow her speed due to excessive deceleration forces upon landing if the foot were too far ahead of the center of mass of the person by overstriding. This angle should ideally be under 5 degrees.
The interregional interdependence of running necessitates a thorough evaluation of the entire lower extremity and torso and comprehensive functional rehabilitation. We are currently working on overall running specific functional training and performance enhancement to bring her into "happy running" and to prepare for upcoming a half marathon.