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Shin splints

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What are shin splints? (Tibial stress syndrome)

“Shin splints” is pain around the tibia or shin bone. This can be medial (inside) often called medial tibial stress syndrome, or anterior (on the front) border of the tibia bone. The pain is usually caused by inflammation of the periosteum which is the lining around the bone where soft tissues from the muscles and tendons attach.

It is usually associated with an increase in impact activities such as running, but training on harder surfaces, poor footwear, weight and foot mechanics have been proposed to cause the problem too.

How can I help myself?

Shin Splints can be tricky to manage, particularly in runners who are more reluctant to rest, but resting is important.

Often the pain from shin splints occurs at the start of a run, it eases with activity, but then returns later on or at the start of the next run.

Management includes rest, and cross training to avoid impact. Exercises to stretch and strengthen the surrounding muscles, Anti-inflammatory medication and ice packs (see important safety information) may help too.

Warming up and cooling down properly when exercising/running and making sure your footwear is appropriate for the activities you are doing, may also help, however research around the impact of many of interventions is not conclusive.

When to see a Podiatrist?

A Podiatrist can help to diagnose the problem, advise on management, footwear and exercises and assess your foot and ankle mechanics and gait. If appropriate they may advise foot orthoses or insoles to try and reduce stress on or through the painful tissues.

If you book an appointment, it is wise to take the footwear you usually wear, especially for running or sports.

Shin splints