Do You Suffer From Shin Splints?

Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, are one of the most common running injuries. Symptoms can vary from slight discomfort to severe pain in the front lower leg. In most cases, the muscles along the shinbone have become swollen and the shin bone or tibia is sore to touch.

At the onset of this condition, pain is usually only felt after a run. If the condition worsens, pain may be felt continuously while running and afterwards. If a runner ignores this condition and continues to run with shin pain, it may develop into a tibial stress fracture requiring many weeks of rest to heal and recover.

This running injury is not caused by soft tissue damage as was originally thought. Bone scans have produced evidence to indicate the presence of low bone density believed to have been caused by stress placed on the shin or tibia bone while running.
 

Amazon Outlet

What Causes Shin Splints?

There are a number of possible causes of shin splints. Over-training is one of the most common causes. Check your running log to ensure you have not increased your training too quickly in intensity or quantity. Too much too soon is often the cause of this injury. 

Biomechanics or an improper running form is another common cause. Check your running form and ensure you are not over-striding. Your feet should land directly beneath your center of gravity as your run.

Shin Splints


Notice how your foot lands while running also known as your running foot strike. Heel striking can also contribute to this problem especially if the foot remains in a dorsiflex position (toes pointing up) longer than necessary. This contracts the shin muscles and causes tension in the area. If you are a heel striker, perhaps you may want to consider trying a forefoot or midfoot strike to reduce stress and tension on the lower legs and knees.

Other possible causes:

  • An increase in downhill running
  • Running on uneven or soft surfaces
  • Tight calf muscles or Achilles tendon
  • Over-pronation
  • Over-striding (beginners appear to be more susceptible)


Treatments and Recovery

If the pain is severe, stop running. Rest and seek professional advice as it could develop into a stress fracture or chronic compartment syndrome if ignored. If you suspect a stress fracture, you may want to have an x-ray to confirm if a fracture exists. Fractures require immediate attention and running must cease completely.

Most cases of shin splints are not serious and the pain often disappears as the muscles relax during a run. There are a number of self-treatments you can try to ease the pain and correct the problem.


  • Relax your lower legs as much as possible while running, especially your ankles and feet. 
  • Rest or cross-train, i.e. cycling, swimming, deep water running
  • Avoid downhill running when experiencing pain
  • Run on harder surfaces which provide more support until the muscles are strengthened
  • Avoid running on uneven surfaces
  • Listen to a Guided Running Injury Healing Meditation to speed healing.
  • Use an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling
  • Ice the area to decrease inflammation and increase blood flow (see below)
  • Stretch the front leg muscles, calves and Achilles (see below)
  • To help you deal with the pain and to speed recovery, try the Tapping Solution also known as the Emotion Freedom Technique (EFT)

To ice the area, use a paper cup. Freeze water in the paper cup and then tear the top rim off the cup to expose some of the ice. Rub the exposed ice along your shin. The remaining part of the cup will keep your hand from freezing. It is recommended to ice for 10-20 minutes three times a day when pain is still present in the area.

Stretch the area by pointing and flexing your toes. Also try standing on stairs and while holding onto the rail, rising up on your toes (calf raises). While also standing on stairs with ball of foot at edge of bottom step, let one heel drop down and hold for 30 seconds (heel drop). Repeat with other foot. Repeat these exercises throughout the day. These exercises will strengthen and stretch the area, making it stronger, more flexible and will help ease the pain.

Increasing your strike frequency or cadence to 180 steps per minute will help reduce impact as your ground contact time is reduced. This of course reduces the stress on your bones and muscles thus reducing the risk of shin splints.

Running on a hard surface in minimal shoes helps to build strength and reduce leg stiffness. Soft surfaces and soft cushioned shoes have been shown to increase leg stiffness.

If you have suffered from shin splints, please share your story in the comments below. How long did you experience pain and what did you do to help speed recovery?

Back to Top of Shin Splints

Return to Are You Prone to Running Injuries?

Other Related Articles



FTC Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying  purchases.
Learn more.

NEW FEATURE - DISQUS COMMENTS!

Be the first to comment.
Login using Facebook, Twitter, Google or Disqus.

Loading Comments
#disqus_thread { min-height: 200px; }

Recent Articles

  1. Are you tired of bulky and uncomfortable phone carriers while running?

    May 04, 24 01:41 PM

    Best Phone Carrier for Running

    The #PRPocket is the solution you've been seeking. It’s the most comfortable, discreet and secure way to carry your phone while running.

    Read More

  2. Our Cells are Listening to Our Thoughts

    Apr 30, 24 07:11 AM

    Our cells have ears

    This concept isn't far-fetched; it is indeed based on science. Research has proven that our nervous system takes cues from our thoughts, emotions, and mental states, which impacts our physiological c…

    Read More

  3. How to Prevent Black Toenails from Running

    Apr 09, 24 01:41 PM

    How to Prevent Black Toenails

    What causes black toenails while running? Learn how to prevent them and treat them when they are painful.

    Read More

  4. 9 Tips to Prevent Running Injuries

    Mar 28, 24 02:07 PM

    9 Tips to Prevent Running Injuries

    Use these 9 tips to maintain injury-free running, and make it to the finish line every time!

    Read More

  5. Make Running Easier with this Simple Trick

    Mar 20, 24 01:35 PM

    Make Running Easier with this Simple Trick

    Make running easier with this simple trick! It will make you feel more relaxed, happier, healthier, stress free and looking younger!

    Read More

  6. 7 Amazing Advantages of Toe Socks for Running

    Mar 06, 24 11:25 AM

    Toe Socks for Running

    When you discover all the advantages of how these unusual, but brilliant, socks benefit all runners, they may become the only socks you'll ever wear while running.

    Read More

  7. Running in Beautiful Thailand

    Feb 02, 24 05:45 AM

    Running in Beautiful Thailand

    I loved running in Koh Tao, Hua Hin and Cha-Am and each place offered its own unique running experience. I enjoyed having the opportunity to experience tasty food, beautiful scenery and the warm clim…

    Read More

  8. Josh Kerr's World Champion Success Secrets

    Dec 20, 23 11:48 AM

    Josh Kerr World Champion Success

    Josh Kerr was considered the underdog going into the 2023 World Athletics Championship, so after his win, millions were left wondering how he did it. What is the secret to his success?

    Read More

  9. Stunning Running in Dubai

    Dec 04, 23 01:55 PM

    Running in Dubai

    Despite its dry climate, there are unique, spectacular places to run in Dubai! Whenever travelling to this exciting place, whether for business or pleasure, be sure to pack your running shoes.

    Read More

  10. Improve your posture instantly!

    Oct 27, 23 07:01 AM

    Improve our posture instantly

    Maintaining a proper running form is a crucial element that can significantly affect our running economy, our ability to avoid injuries, how we feel while running, and our overall health. Without goo…

    Read More