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How to Prevent Shin Splints

How to Prevent Shin Splints


Shin splints is typically an encompassing term for pain below the knee, on the front or side of the shin bone. However, even the term medial tibial stress syndrome is not a true representation of the condition and a more accurate term such as medial tibial traction periotitis is thought to be a better descriptive term. This condition is most commonly seen in runners, dancers and tennis players. Shin splints often plague beginner runners who do not build up their mileage gradually or seasoned runners who change their training routine too abruptly or going from flat running to hill running. Shin splints can often be best described as too much, too soon!

Conditions not to dismiss or miss with shin pain:

  • Stress fracture
  • Acute tibial or fibular fracture
  • Exertional compartment syndrome
  • Vascular insufficiency or deep vein thrombosis

Cause of shin splints:

  • Training errors is one of the most common cause- inappropriate load or recovery times
  • Excessive pronation in the foot- flat feet
  • Muscle dysfunction
  • Poor choice of footwear
  • Surface type
  • Decreased flexibility

Symptoms of shin splints:

  • Diffuse pain along the medial border of the tibia
  • Pain that usually decreases after a warm up
  • Pain that gradually recurs after exercise or is worse the next morning

Prevention of shin splints:

  • Cross training such as swimming or cycling
  • Appropriate footwear for running
  •  A comprehensive stretching programme
  • An individualised training programme addressing load, frequency and intensity of training, gradually increasing each of these over time.
  • If you are new to running start gently and gradually increase distance and intensity
  • If you have had previous problems with your feet seek advice from your physiotherapist

If you are experiencing shin pain, contact your physiotherapist to get their help and advice. There are many treatment options available. Your physiotherapist will gather a detailed history of the shin pain and create a treatment programme mainly focusing on symptomatic relief, identification of the risk factors and treating the underlying pathology. Contact our clinic today to book your appointment with one of our experienced physiotherapist. You can now also book an appointment online.

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