SHIN SPLINTS (Shin Pain)- The classic presentation of shin splints is pain along the front and side of your shinbone (tibia). This type of pain is very common in runners or anyone who plays a sport that requires a lot of sudden stops and starts, such as soccer. While the pain is usually on the front of the leg, the problem is often because of tight muscles on the back of the leg. This causes the muscles on the front to work harder to lift the foot and toes up when running (ankle dorsiflexion), which leads to excessive stress and irritation to the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone. Repetitive overuse and irritation causes microtrauma, inflammation, and the laying down of scar tissue. Overtime, layers of scar tissue develop into myofascial adhesions, leading to changes in normal joint and muscle function as well as normal range of motion.
- Tenderness and pain along the inner part of your lower leg.
- Swelling in your lower leg.
- Pain with stepping from running and/or walking.
CALF STRAIN- The calf muscles consist of the large Gastrocnemius and the smaller Soleus muscle. The Gastrocnemius attaches at the knee joint and at heel bone through the achilles tendon. The Soleus attaches right below the knee joint and then also to the heel bone through the achilles tendon. When you experience a calf strain, it can be in either of these two muscles.
Although there are different degrees of an calf strain, the most common symptoms include pain in the back of the lower leg, pain with movement, swelling/bruising, and calf tightness.
ACHILLES TENDINITIS- It is believed that Achilles Tendinitis is the result of tissues degenerating, rather then inflammation. The Achilles tendon runs in the back of the ankle and connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. Pain is most often felt in the middle of the tendon or at the attachment point in the heel.
Achilles tendinitis is typically classified as acute or chronic. Chronic tendonitis gradually builds up over time, and causes consistent pain during activity. It is often tender to the touch and there is pain/stiffness first thing in the morning. Acute tendinitis causes pain at the start of activity, but then decreases during the exercise. Pain typically only occurs during activity and once rested, feels much better.