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
  • 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?



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. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Excited to launch the #PRPocket !!!

    Nov 30, 23 06:50 AM

    Product Launch
    The #PRPocket is the most comfortable and discreet way to carry your phone while running.

    Read More

  5. 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

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

    Oct 20, 23 01:41 PM

    Best Phone Carrier for Running

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

    Read More

  7. What's the real reason runners get injured?

    Oct 03, 23 02:11 PM

    Runners get injured

    Surely it can't just be from over-training or weak bodies. Is this scenario familiar to you? What is the real reason runners get injured so often and what can we do to change it?

    Read More

  8. 5 Ways Mindfulness Can Enhance Your Running

    Aug 25, 23 10:31 AM

    Enhance Your Running

    Discover how mindfulness can enhance your running experience. Elevate your focus and running performance with this transformative technique.

    Read More

  9. How to Enjoy Runner's High More Often

    Jul 16, 23 10:12 AM

    Enjoy Runners High More Often

    Unlock the secret to experiencing runners high more often with our tips. Elevate your runs to new heights and embrace the joy of running

    Read More

  10. How to Change Limiting Beliefs

    Jun 28, 23 12:47 PM

    Change Limiting Beliefs

    Do you have a limiting belief that is contributing to your running injuries and preventing you from achieving your full potential?

    Read More