Shin Splints

August 28, 2023

If you’re a runner, you have probably experienced pain in your shins before after some long distance running. Maybe you’re not a runner but you played sports in high school and want to get back into them recreationally, you started running to get back in shape and experienced the same thing. Most of us have heard of shin splints, so today we want to explain what the condition is. 

Shin splints, or medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), refers to a painful condition characterized by discomfort along the shinbone (tibia) of the lower leg. Individuals who engage in repetitive activities involving running, jumping, or sudden changes in activity intensity are particularly susceptible to developing shin splints. Understanding the causes, prevention, and treatment of this condition is crucial for athletes and individuals aiming to maintain an active lifestyle.

Shin splints result from the repetitive stress placed on the muscles, tendons, and bone tissues of the lower leg. Several contributing factors can lead to the development of shin splints:

  • Overuse: Rapid increases in exercise intensity, duration, or frequency can overload the muscles and tendons of the lower leg, leading to inflammation and pain.

  • Biomechanical Factors: Abnormalities in foot structure, gait mechanics, and muscle imbalances can place undue stress on the shinbone and surrounding tissues.

  • Inadequate Footwear: Ill-fitting or worn-out footwear might fail to provide proper support and shock absorption, contributing to shin splints.

  • Hard Surfaces: Training on hard surfaces, such as concrete, increases the impact forces transmitted to the lower leg, increasing the risk of injury.

So far, this sounds like a lot of problems and zero solutions. However, you shouldn’t worry because we are here to help! Preventing shin splints involves a multi-faceted approach that addresses the underlying causes and emphasizes gradual progression in exercise routines:

  • Gradual Progression: The first thing to keep in mind is that incremental increases in exercise intensity and volume allow the body to adapt and minimize the risk of overuse injuries. (you have probably heard us talk about a relationship in our bodies between load & capacity, this is that relationship)
  • Proper Footwear: Choosing appropriate footwear that provides your specific anatomy with the right support and stability can reduce the strain on the lower leg.
  • Stretching and Strengthening: Incorporating dynamic stretching and strengthening exercises for the calf, shin, and hip muscles can improve biomechanics and reduce the risk of imbalances.
  • Rest and Recovery: Allowing adequate time for rest and recovery between intense workouts prevents excessive strain on the muscles and tendons.

These are all solutions for people who might not be experiencing shin splints at this exact moment, but in cases where shin splints occur, a comprehensive treatment plan can facilitate recovery and prevent recurrence:

  • Rest: Taking a break from the activity causing the pain allows inflammation to subside and the tissues to heal.
  • Ice and Compression: Applying ice and using compression wraps may temporarily reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can design a rehabilitation program that includes stretching, strengthening, and gait correction exercises.
  • Return to Activity: Gradually reintroducing activities with appropriate modifications can prevent a relapse of shin splints.

Shin splints are a drag and can significantly impact an individual's ability to engage in physical activities. By understanding the causes, adopting preventive measures, and following appropriate treatment strategies, individuals can minimize the risk of shin splints and effectively manage the condition if it arises. Balanced training, proper footwear, and biomechanical awareness are key components in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle while reducing the likelihood of shin splint development.


Engage in exercises that strengthen the core and lower back muscles. Yoga, swimming, and walking are great options to maintain spinal health.

Peak Performance Care

in Sonora CA

13949 Mono Way

PO Box 4143

Sonora, CA 95370

(209) 532 1288

Fax: (209) 230 9529

Monday/Wednesday: 8am-5:30pm

Tuesday/Thursday: 6am-5pm

Friday: 6am-2pm