Shin Splints

Shin Splints

Apr 4, 2012
No Comments Yet
Shin splints can be a very painful and very common reason why people have to reduce their training or stop altogether.  We have seen several people in the clinic recently training for Brighton Marathon with these symptoms.
Shin splints (also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome or Medial Tibial Periostitis) is caused by overstrain on the membrane around the tibia bone resulting from excessive strain placed on it by muscle attachments.  It often occurs in people who do a lot of exercise and who over-train or rapidly increase their training. Running on hard surfaces and doing a lot of stopping and starting are also reasons why people suffer from shin splints.
Having poor trainers or having poor foot mechanics especially when the foot rolls inwards during running (over pronation), weak ankles and tight calf muscles are also factors that can contribute to shin splints.
  1. 1. Firstly you need to stop the exercise that is causing the problem.  Two weeks is usually a minimum.  This allows the irritation to stop while the cause is addressed.
  2. 2. Use ice treatment – apply ice packs for ten minutes per hour for a few hours to reduce inflammation and therefore reduce the pain.  Repeat as necessary.
  3. 3. Check your training shoes – if they are worn on the sole under the big toe or ball of the foot in that area there is a good chance you over pronate and this needs to be addressed with different trainers and/or orthotics in the shoes.
  4. 4. Continue training using non weight bearing exercise such as swimming or cycling to maintain fitness.
  5. 5. Stretch your calf (including gastrocnemius, soleus and tibialis posterior) and shin. See the stretching page on our website.
  1. 1. Strengthen your muscles using;
            1. a. Calf raises
            1. b. Toe raises
            1. c. Toe/Heel walking
            1. d. Resisted foot dorsiflexion
  2. 2. Begin your training again slowly and build up gradually
  3. 3. Warm up and stretch the calf and shin prior to exercise
  4. 4. Consider wearing compression socks which allow heat to be retained and provide support to the calf muscle (they don’t look great but a lot of top athletes wear them!)
  5. 5. Get better trainers.  Go to a shop that assesses your running gait properly. We suggest Run in Hove or Tortoise and Hare, Cranleigh
  1. 1. We can assess your muscular and biomechanical function of your foot and leg
  2. 2. We can release the muscles effectively
  3. 3. We can ensure you are doing the correct stretching
  4. 4. We can strap your leg to take strain off the shin
  5. 5. We can ensure that your pelvic mechanics are working properly thus reducing the chance of secondary problems such as back pain and hip pain.
  6. 6. We can help to get you running again!

About the Author


Comments are closed.

  • Not sure if osteopathy is for you?

    If you have any questions regarding osteopathic treatment prior to booking an appointment, please do not hesitate to let us know and one of our osteopaths will be happy to discuss these with you. If you are still not sure we offer a Free Assessment. Just ask when you call.