Shin splints are much more than shin soreness. Shin soreness happens through overuse of your shins during training. Soreness can be treated with the R.I.C.E.R. principle (REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, ELEVATION, REFERRAL FOR MEDICAL ASSISTANCE). Shin splints refer to a medical condition called Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS).

Problems with your tibia (shin bone), fibula and the many muscles that attach to them cause shin splints. There are two main causes of shin splints:


1. Overloading – Exercising on hard or uneven surfaces bring on shin splints. Other common causes of shin splints are exercising with cheap shoes, exercising after a long layoff, a sudden increase in exercise intensity/duration and excessive uphill or downhill running.

2. Biomechanical Problems – The most common biomechanical problem is running with flat feet which lead to over-pronation (foot and ankle roll excessively inward). Poor running mechanics can also lead to shin splints. And, finally tight lower leg muscles contribute to shin splints.

Prevention of shin splints includes the following:

1. Quality footwear is a must. You may need the recommendation of a podiatrist and/or expert footwear saleman.

2. Proper warmup of your lower leg muscles and tendons before your activity.

3. Proper running mechanics will help prevent shin splints.

Treatment of shin splints include:

1. R.I.C.E.R. application during the first 24-72 hours of injury.

2. After 72 hours of ice treatment, use heat and deep tissue massage. You can also massage the shin area before and after exercise activity.

Prevention of shin splints is the best policy!

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist
Certified Nutrition Coach and Nutrition for Metabolic Health Specialist. Since 2006, I have helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle habit changes that helps you to achieve better long-term health, which includes body transformation and ideal body weight.
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4 thoughts on “Shin Splints, Ouch!

  1. My daughter had shin splints with playing volleyball. She’s a middle hitter. After resting and physical therapy for several months she is back to playing again. Last weekend she had a tournament over two days playing 6 matches. Now she is complaining of pain on the lower outide of both legs by her ankles. Is this shin splints returning again? What should she do now?

    1. Lianne….thanks for the visit! First, your daughter should rest and ice both legs each day for 10 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day…I would recommend seeing a sports injury specialist. It sounds like your daughter may have injuries that have been there for some time. I would also recommend a meal plan suitable for athletes. Let me know how its going.

  2. Thanks for the info. I had trouble with shin splints for a long time. It was so painful, almost felt like a broken shin some times. Finding the right shoes and replacing them often is what helped me. So far so good! 😉

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