Are You at Risk for Shin Splints?


English: DEERWOOD, Md. (Feb. 7, 2009) Lt. j.g....

English: DEERWOOD, Md. (Feb. 7, 2009) Lt. j.g. Gina Shaw treats shin splints by wrapping her leg in ice after her 8 Kilometer run after competing in the 2009 Armed Forces Cross Country Championship. The women’s cross-country team finished second behind the Air Force. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jhi L. Scott/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A common complaint among runners is Shin Splints.  In all honesty, this type of injury happens to more than just runners.  Anyone who has a mild to major increase in activity level is susceptible to shin splints. Shin splints (medically known as Medial Tibial Distress Syndrome) can limit the amount of activity a person can do.  If you have ever had shin splints before, you know exactly what I am talking about.  The pain is excruciating!  So now that the summer is coming to an end, maybe you are trying to increase your amount of activity before the clouds and storms come in representing the change in seasons.

Some factors that increase your risk to shin splints are:

  • Improper footwear
  • Overpronation of the foot/ankle
  • Muscular weakness
  • Muscular tightness
  • Decrease joint mobility
  • Poor training quality/form
  • High foot arches

I am sure that everyone can fit into this list in at least one category.  I know that I fit into at least two fo them.  Does that mean you will get shin splints?  No!  Does it mean you should address pain in the front of your lower leg (shin) if you have it?  Yes, of course!  Here are a few tips to help avoid shin splints

  • Try to stay on softer surfaces for running
  • Replace running shoes around 300-400 miles
  • Limit distance increases to 10% or less each week
  • Include lower impact activities (cycling, elliptical, rowing, swimming, etc.)
  • Stretch the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus)

If you do get shin splints, Advantage PT therapists can help get you back to full training faster!!  Email us with any questions (


Shoulder Pain and Treatment


Last week we, Advantage Physical Therapy, sent out a newsletter that talked about the shoulder.  This happened to coincide with the Mercer Island Cross Fit coach coming to me to talk about a few shoulder injuries his clients had been having.

I decided to help out by taking some videos of some simple exercises to help out with some shoulder instability problems.These videos show the proper way to perform 3 exercises that are commonly used for shoulder pain.  Remember to perform theses exercises without PAIN!  If your pain levels increase while doing these activities, please discontinue them and see a physical therapist.

Shoulder Pulleys for Range of Motion:


External Rotation (Rotator Cuff Strengthening):


Shoulder Stability (Water Bottle Shake): 


Here is a link to our shoulder newsletter.

The highlights of this newsletter are as follows:

  • An estimated 30% of adults have shoulder pain at some time in their lives
  • Shoulder pain is not normal or something that you just have to “deal with”
  • If the pain persists, you should seek medical treatment from a Physical Therapist or Doctor
  • Treatment options include physical therapy, medication, and surgery

“What does this mean for me?”

In physical therapy we will perform a thorough examination of the shoulder including muscle activity, joint biomechanics, and joint integrity.  From this examination your therapist will develop a treatment plan that may include some or all of the following:

  • Manual Therapy: joint mobilization, soft tissue massage, cross fiber/friction massage
  • Therapeutic Activities: Range of motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and stabilization exercises
  • Ultrasound for pain and inflammation control
  •  E-stim: muscle and/or edema control, and pain control

Please email us if you have any questions:

Yoga for Chronic Back Pain

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Image by Kerala Tourism via Flickr

Most of us have had at least one episode of low back pain.  I remember, in PT school, our instructor would ask if anyone has ever had back pain and all but one person out of 60 would raise their hand up.  Now I have never had debilitating back pain before, usually I can fix any symptoms I have with a change in position or some stretching.

Friends and family often ask me “what should I do for my back pain?” I usually reply by asking what makes it worse and trying to get a fix on a cause. Last week, an interesting article grabbed my attention  from the PT in Motion website in regards to treating chronic back pain.

The article talked about a recent research study published on November 1st, 2011 in Annuals of Internal Medicine. This article talked about the study and how it showed that people who participated in a 3-month yoga program saw greater improvements in back function than usual care for patients who had/have chronic low back pain.  Now, it is important to note that in this study, all participants had, at a minimum, “usual care.” Everyone in the study showed improvements in the standardized tests that represent disability, pain, and general health, but by adding a yoga class approximately once a week, patients showed slightly more improvements.  You can click here to read the post on PT in Motion.