Updated: Aug 15, 2021

Shin Splints is an athlete’s worst nightmare!

It’s a term used to describe an overuse stress injury in the lower limb, specifically the Tibia (Shin).

A lot of the times, it’s a case of “too much too fast”. Whether this is due to a change in training programs, change in load in training or even a change in sport and surfaces.

However, as the medical world is always evolving, we do keep in mind that conditions such as this are very often multifactorial.

When muscles around the Tibia (Soleus, Tibialis Posterior, Tibialis Anterior etc.) become weak and tight, they can pull on the Periosteum (the outer membrane that covers the surface of bones) it can cause pain and inflammation.

The shock absorption required in the lower leg when running and landing becomes too much, this causes the load to be transferred to the bone rather than the muscles themselves.

This can be felt as a “sharp” pain in lower front leg, often increasing with activity and easing with decreased load/training or rest.

Shin Splints are general put into 2 categories (see picture!)

Contributing factors can be…

- biomechanics: over pronation of the foot, over-striding, leg length discrepancies etc.

- poor footwear, drastic change in footwear

- hard or uneven training surfaces

- repetitive impacts (long distance/hill runners, dancers, military, basketball, soccer etc.)

- overtraining/overloading, insufficient rest

Shin Splints are very manageable and very treatable.

It all starts with prevention, of course!

Things like adequate footwear and support, gradual increase of training and loading, strong foot and leg mechanics and optimal recovery!

If treatment is necessary, your Practitioner will assess the damage and from there make a treatment plan.

Soft tissue work, decreasing pain and inflammation, correcting muscle imbalances and some good old-fashioned exercise and mobility prescription will be on the cards!

You can see anyone from a Podiatrist to a Physio or Myo for this sort of condition!

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