What are Shin Splints?

What are Shin Splints?

Shin Splints is a common term used to describe a number of different injuries around the lower leg, it is one of the most common causes of exertional leg pain in athletes (Galbraith & Lavallee, 2009).

Shin splints is a term we can use to generalise a diagnosis which may be of boney, muscular or compartmental cause. Most often pain occurs due to repeated nature of our favourite exercise, such as running.

Common causes of shin splints

  • Training errors (most common cause) – doing too much too soon
  • Muscle tightness, particularly in the calf muscles
  • Muscle weakness
  • Inadequate footwear
  • Running on hard surfaces, inclines or uneven surfaces

Image from pinterest

Treatment options

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Training modifications (cross training is important!)
  • Addressing biomechanical abnormalities
  • Stretching exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Footwear assessment and modifications
  • Orthotics
  • Laser therapy
  • Shockwave therapy

It is important that assessment and diagnosis is prompt so appropriate management strategies can be implemented as soon as possible. This means the condition won’t get as bad, and the individual can return to normal activity sooner.

If you have lower leg pain or think you may have MTSS, see your podiatrist as soon as possible.

Galbraith, R. M, and Lavallee, M. E. (2009). Medial tibial stress syndrome: conservative treatment options. 2; 127-133. doi: 10.1007/s12178-009-9055-6