EMS for shin splints?

Would EMS be any help in dealing with shin splints? If so, what kind of program? Pulses or the 10 sec/50 sec protocol?

I am a basketball player who does a lot of daily jumping. I am trying out as a walk on for a college team in 2 weeks and the shin splints are seriously holding me back.

Thank you,

Erik Lukas

Possibly some light pulses on the calves to loosen them up, increase circulation and even perhaps address the pain. Keep the intensity low as I’ve found that the calves can be very sensitive to muscle stim.

Nope, doesn’t work. Instead you should try to treat the cause of the pain and not the symptom alone. I lost several years in my ‘athletics career’ just trying to treat the symptom using all the possible gimmicks (ultrasound, ems, surgery, etc. etc.) Where do you live?

“Nope, doesn’t work. Instead you should try to treat the cause of the pain and not the symptom alone. I lost several years in my ‘athletics career’ just trying to treat the symptom using all the possible gimmicks (ultrasound, ems, surgery, etc. etc.) Where do you live?”

Thank you for your advice, my friend. I live in NW Indiana but am currently located in central Indiana for school. I was trying some writing in the air with my toes for quite a while yesterday and was able to play one full pickup game with my old quick feet before the shin pain came back. When its not there, I feel like I can fly because I’m so used to stomping around on my heels due to the shin pain right now.

I think footwear may be one of the problems and I should really take care of that first.

As I said, I unfortunately probably don’t have enough time to get any custom orthopedics before the tryouts. But thank you for making me realize I need to deal with the cause before it gets worse.


I will send you a PM…

Can you post some information about treating the cause for all of us?

Well, I was a little hesitant to do so because this has been once discussed on this board (if I recall) and back then it didn’t get much approval because of misconceptions I think. Anyway, the ultimate cause is dysfunctional loading of your feet, knees, hips etc. all the way up the kinetic chain. This again is caused by muscular imbalances from right to left and/or front to back. This shows in the alignment of your load joints (ankles, knees, hips, shoulders) in several possible ways, e.g. your feet turn out and pronate or supinate, you get bowlegs or knock knees, your pelvis tilts anterior which causes lordosis in your low back and shuts down your glutes causing hamstring overload, and the list goes on. These are just examples what could happen when you don’t have proper muscular balance. So to treat the cause you simply need to take care of these imbalances. Now, how do we do that?

There are several methods out there, but not all are effective in the long run because they don’t take into account the body as a whole. For example many don’t realize that their upper back might have everything to do with how their feet are loading. So if only the lower leg musculature is treated and there still is a massive kyphosis present in the upper back we are back to square one so to speak. ART, manipulation, massage, and the like can all be useful in dealing with these problems if used correctly, BUT alone don’t yield lasting results. You need to strengthen weak muscles, activate inhibited ones and teach the proper length/tension relationship yourself. Nobody can do it for you. BUT, again, traditional strengthening exercises don’t usually take into account the dysfunction present and you end up strengthening your dysfunctions. An example might be needed here: say you have weak ‘running muscles’ so the physio/doc/trainer tells you to run more, but since you have strong compensating muscles you end up running using them instead of the weak ‘running muscles’ which needed the strengthening. So now we have even stronger compensating muscles and weaker ‘running muscles’. So what do we learn here? When ‘strengthening’ a weak muscle you first need to disengage the compensating muscle to be able to activate the weak one.

I have had very good results with the Egoscue Method because it takes the above into account when dealing with postural alignment. Other modalities can be used to release chronically tight myofascia to speed up the process, but you need a personalized program to correct the core dysfunction. Now there are some first aid exercises in the Pain Free book and the www.egoscue.com website, but like I said those are just general first aid exercises that might help or they might not. To get results you need to work with a skilled therapist one on one.

And again, I’m not saying that ems, ultrasound, ice, anti-inflammatories etc. shouldn’t be used - they have a place in some cases, but they are not the cure either.

Good info! I noticed a couple days ago that my shin splints in my right leg are coming back. Is it a coincidence that I also happen to be having pain somewhere in my right hip flexors, upper hamstring/ischial tuberosity, and IT band(or something near there)? Maybe not. My right foot also turns out, which is related to my other problems. My left shin is not as bad.

You are right on! It sounds like there is a muscular imbalance in your hips. If you go to a mirror and look at your shoulders, hips and knees you might notice a few other things (one or all of the following): one shoulder lower than the other, one hip lower than the other and kneecaps pointing in different directions.

It’s hard to tell…the only think I know is that my right foot turns out, and since it does there is probably something different with my knee or hip, too. I think my chiropractor worked on this when I went a couple days ago.