Pure Physio Blog

What Are Shin Splints?

Published on
29 Apr 2014

Shin Splints-Pure Physio

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Shin splints holding you back? Physiotherapist Cara Peake sheds some light on this all-too-common problem:

We have either had them or lost a running...

Shin splints holding you back? Physiotherapist Cara Peake sheds some light on this all-too-common problem:

We have either had them or lost a running or walking partner due to them. Shin splints are one of the most common running injuries and can have a debilitating effect to an individual’s activity pursuits.

What are shin splints?

Shin splints is a very general term that refers to lower limb pain, it most commonly refers to what is known as ‘medial tibial stress syndrome’ (MTSS).

MTSS usually results in the leg muscles pulling on the tibia (shin) bone, which results in pain and inflammation.

What causes shin splints?

The exact cause is often multifactorial. The most common causes are:

Sudden increase in training load or mileage

Change in footwear or wearing old worn shoes

Flat feet. People’s whose feet tend to roll in during exercise are at a higher risk as the tibialis posterior muscle (inner shin muscle) often has to work harder to try and prevent the arch from collapsing which has a constant pulling effect on the shin bone.

A common finding is poor pelvic stability especially weak gluteal muscles, which results in poor lower limb control and overuse of the lower limb muscles to compensate for the upper chain weakness.

Can I keep running?

Depending on your symptoms it is generally best advised to reduce your training load to settle the inflammation.

Massage can be effective to help reduce the muscle tightness.

However, it is always best to check with your physio to review the severity of your condition and identify muscle weaknesses or any biomechanical factors that may be contributing to your shin pain.

Happy running and walking!

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