How to Treat Shin Splints

How to Treat Shin Splints

How to Treat Shin Splints

What is a shin splint?

Shin splints are very common. The term ‘shin splints’ is a colloquial name that has, for many years, combined all different of the pains from the front, and often the back, of the lower leg. The term shin splints is used the most often if intense training has caused the pain. However, the lower leg and foot are an extremely complex biomechanical system. Therefore, they can’t be generalized and this pain requires an accurate diagnosis followed by appropriate treatment.

The pain of shin splints typically occurs during and after physical activity that involves:

  • running
  • jumping
  • walking

What to Expect from Shin Splints

Like other health problems, shin splints are the result of different forces acting on the vertex connecting the muscle to the bone. If these forces are allowed to pull it long enough, and hard enough, they’ll overcome the body’ s ability to heal itself. The pain may occur at the beginning of training and after warming up as well.

Proper diagnosis is very important, and requires having a physical exam by a specialist. Simply touching the sore spot and performing stretching tests can’t rule out damage to other soft tissues in the area. Ultrasound can determine the exact extent of the inflammation and if there is a suspected stress fracture, it is best to do an x-ray or MRI. Immediately after the diagnosis, follow up with an appropriate treatment.


To prevent shin splints, you should:

  • Wear shoes with solid support and padding
  • Warm up before you start training
  • Stop exercising as as soon as you feel pain in your shins


Usually the treatment is simple and includes icing the area, massage, and plenty of stretching exercises. Typically, these injuries only last a few weeks. In extremely rare cases, or if the injury is completely ignored, it may last longer.

This illness is inflammation of the lower third of the tibia, which occurs due to overuse at the area where the muscle connects to bone. There are several forms of inflammation. The first is definitely an acute condition, in which pain is intense, even in normal walking.

Immediately after diagnosis, it is important to reduce physical activity. Along with other protective measures, there is a whole arsenal of anti-inflammatory therapy to be used, including:

  • Icing the area
  • Elastic bandages to splint the area
  • Analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs

Stretching exercises, strength training, and balancing exercises are also good activities at this stage of treatment.

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