Shin Splints | Treatment Strategies

Originally Published Apr 4, 2016

Afflicting most who are into some kind of intense workout or running routine, Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, called more commonly as shin splint, is a  painful condition that causes sometimes soreness or a sharp painful sensation in the inner shin, running down to the ankle or even the upper portions of the shin. It is as common amongst professional athletes as among the casual ones.

Typical of shin splints is the kind of pain that will immediately manifest as you begin the run or walk and may reduce as the body warms up to return again anytime during the run. But as you end your run, the pain could return with greater intensity making you stop on the tracks. In the following days the pain would be consistently present each time you walk fast or run.

The main cause for this rather painful condition called shin splints is the pressure on the Periosteum or shin bone’s outer surface by the tissue or muscle of that area, called the fascia. With each step taken while running, a massive amount of weight lands on each foot-sometimes as much as twice or more of your body weight. This is the amount of distress the muscle and bone have to withstand which requires a careful control.

Shin Splints could be caused by numerous factors-very hard running surface, poor choice of footwear-the kind that lends no support to the foot or has poor grip, a change in training, or technique of running that makes the landing of the weight on the knee, too jarring-all of these could be culprits.

Shin Splint Treatment

Getting a biomechanical assessment of your running style would be the first element to thoroughly check out. This could be easily done through a treadmill test wherein our physiotherapist will analyze your running style. An early detection of a poor technique will prevent setting in of some deeply lined injury. The assessment will identify if your step rate is too high or too short, which in turn will stem the damage.

Shin Splint Treatment Based on Level of Injury

1st Stage - Begins early during warm up when you are just beginning your exercise and will continue to increase as the workout extends.
2nd Stage - Pain at the time of warm up-disappears in between but comes back with sharpness as you end the workout or run. However, you may be able to complete your workout or run without much pain in between.
3rd Stage - the kind of pain that intensifies during activity to such an extent that one has to immediately stop the exercise.
4th Stage - continuous pain that does not allow any activity.

Temporary Treatment

  • Applying ice for at least 20 minutes every 2 to 4 hours will help ease the pain.
  • One could use tape to provide some kind of support to the area so that the injured tissue can get some respite. It would help support the bone as well.
  • Exercises recommended by your physiotherapist alone should be done, basically involving some strengthening or stretching.
  • Designed to suit your level or stage of condition-a strengthening and conditioning workout routine to negate any chance of recurrence.

Your recovery to normal condition will require one to take into consideration three factors-how well you respond to treatment, the kind of injury and its stage and the kind of activity you would have to take up soon after undergoing treatment. Untreated shin splints result in tibial stress fracture that can be hugely debilitating, putting you out of action for almost six weeks.

Exercises That Can Be Used For Shin Splints Treatment

Bill our physiotherapist from our Engadine Clinic demonstrates his favourite three exercises you can do at home to help alleviate your shin splints in the video below. for the quickest results perform the bottom exercises for 3 sets a day for 15 repetitions 

1. Spikey Ball rub in the sore leg 

2. Foam Roller  outside part of the leg 

3. Trigger Point Spikey Ball release. 

Help is easily available at Physio Inq with the professional treatment of your condition, as well as for assessment done scientifically to help analyze the method best suited to your stage of injury. Find your closest Physio Inq clinic today.


The information provided on this blog is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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