Leg Pain and Tibialis Anterior Syndrome

Shin PainLeg pain not only hurts but can be very frustrating as it hinders us from what we want to do. Our mobility, or lack of it, greatly affects how we live our lives.

The Performance: Of the tibialis anterior muscle. The muscle is on the front of the shin and attaches to several bones in the foot via the tibialis anterior tendon. The tibialis anterior is primarily responsible for moving the foot and ankle towards the head, and controlling the foot as it lowers to the ground during walking or running.

The Problem: When the tibialis anterior muscle contracts or is stretched, tension is placed on the tibialis anterior tendon. When tension becomes excessive, due to repetition or high force, damage to the tendon can occur. Tibialis anterior tendonitis (TAT) is a condition where there is damage to the tibialis anterior tendon with subsequent inflammation and degeneration.

The Pain: People with (TAT) usually have pain at the front of the shin, ankle, or foot during activities which place large amounts of stress on the tibialis anterior tendon. Pain is often felt after the offending activities and ensuing rest, especially upon waking in the morning. Excessive walking or running (especially up or down hills or on hard or uneven surfaces), kicking an object with toes pointed (e.g. a football), and wearing excessively tight shoes or kneeling can cause pain as well. Typically, the pain will increase gradually over the course of weeks or even months and with continuation of aggravating activities.

The Process: Of how this problem can develop. (TAT) usually comes from activities placing large amounts of stress through the tibialis anterior muscle. People may also develop this condition following direct rubbing on the tibialis anterior tendon. These are some frequent causes of the issue:

  • Muscle tightness (particularly of the tibialis anterior or calf).
  • Muscle weakness (particularly of the tibialis anterior and tibialis posterior).
  • Joint stiffness (particularly of the foot and ankle).
  • Inappropriate or excessive training, poor foot biomechanics and inappropriate running technique.
  • Inappropriate footwear, inadequate warm-up, and inadequate rehabilitation following a previous ankle or lower limb injury.
  • Neural tightness, muscle imbalances, and being overweight.

If you suspect you have this you should be examined by a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

The Plan: Some things we can do to help this condition.

  • Man in WheelchairSoothing treatments: Soaking in Epsom salts, soft tissue massages, and learning to relax without pushing yourself too hard. Heat and ice treatment can be helpful.
  • Supplements: Omega 3’s, Calcium with vitamin D and preferably with magnesium, and vitamin K2. If you are on a blood thinner do not take vitamin K because it thickens the blood.
  • Sneakers: Shock absorption is the most important characteristic of your footwear. Shoes should be replaced every 350 to 450 miles.
  • Support: Things that will assist you in getting around and take pressure off of the hurting area. Crutches, braces, ace bandages, tape, and a wheelchair can be very helpful. If you plan on doing a lot of walking or sightseeing a wheel chair should be used.
  • Strength exercises: This will help build bone density as well as strengthen the weak area. Exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and balance are important.
  • Source of food: Eating high-quality, preferably organic and locally-grown food, will naturally increase your bone density and decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis. Along with your foods, your omega-3 fat content also has a major role in building healthy bones.

You must be patient, as it can take a few weeks to several months for recovery. It depends upon the extent of the injury.

By Kurt LaCapruccia, DR Vitamin Solutions