Both compartment syndrome and periostitis can occur on the front or back of the lower leg, causing pain and tightness. Symptoms increase with exercise and decrease with rest. But, while they can both occur in the same locations and have similar symptoms, they aren't quite the same.
Compartment syndrome is caused by an increase in the pressure within compartments of the lower leg. This can affect blood flow to muscles, causing pain. Because compartment syndrome commonly occurs on the front of the lower leg, it is often confused with periostitis. Periostitis is inflammation of the periosteum, a thin membrane that covers most bones. Periostitis is more common on the back of the lower leg, but can also occur on the front of your tibia, or shin bone, where it is referred to as shin splints.
Shin splints can be caused by overuse, such as overtraining, or a number of other factors, such as improper footwear, improper technique, and running on uneven or hard surfaces. Some other predisposing factors are tight calf muscles, excessive pronation (where your foot rolls inward), and excessive lateral rotation of your hip.
If you suffer from shin splints or compartment syndrome, massage therapy treatment can help bring balance to the affected and compensating muscles. Therapy treats the lower back, hip, and upper legs to address the compensating muscles. Affected muscles are treated with fascial work, Swedish techniques, and stretches to decrease muscle and fascia tension.