Shin splints is common in runners or other activities that put a lot of pressure through the shin.

What is shin splints?

Shin splints is an exercise-induced pain that is felt in the shin area- the front of your lower leg.

What causes shin splints?

Shin splints have several causes. When a large amount of pressure is placed on your legs it can cause damage to your bone and surrounding tissue.

The most common cause is medial tibial stress syndrome which occurs due to intense, frequent periods of exercise that your body isn’t used to. Running long distances and sports where you are stopping and starting a lot such as tennis or netball increase your risk of medial tibial stress syndrome

There are a number of things that make you more likely to suffer from shin splints below, for example if you:

  • haven’t been running for more than 5 years
  • run on slopes or hard surfaces
  • have flat feet
  • wear worn trainers or poor fitting trainers that don’t support the foot
  • are overweight
  • have weak ankles
  • have tight calf muscles
  • have a tight Achilles tendon

What are the symptoms of shin splints?

Symptoms of shin splints include any tenderness, throbbing or aching on the inside of the shin halfway down or along the whole shin.

Mild cases may only feel the pain or throbbing with rest following aggravating activities however as shin splints worsens the pain may also increase during sporting activities which may affect performance. In very severe cases shin splints may cause you to walk with a limp.

How is shin splints diagnosed?

Your physiotherapist can carry out a thorough subjective and objective assessment to determine whether or not you have shin splints.

Other investigations may be indicated if your shin splints does not improve such as X-rays, bone scans, MRI scans or CT scans. A podiatry assessment may also be of benefit to correct any abnormalities with foot posture and prescribe orthotics.

What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for shin splints?

There are many different treatment options for shin splints and your physiotherapist can decide the best treatment options for you based on what is found during your assessment. Each person’s treatment plan is different and based around your goals and lifestyle.

Treatment can include:

  • Ice or heat therapy
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Electrotherapy
  • Orthotic use
  • Walking aid education such as crutch use
  • Weight loss advice if appropriate
  • Activity modification advice
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Arch support taping
  • PNF stretches

Benefit of physiotherapy for shin splints?

Physiotherapy treatment is important to speed up the healing process and ensure that you make optimal recovery as safely as possible. Physiotherapy is also important for preventing the injury re-occurring.

Physiotherapy can:

  • Speed up recovery
  • Reduce pain
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve function
  • Improve strength
  • Improve flexibility
  • Prevent shin splints returning

If you would like to book an assessment or enquire further, please call 01245 830280 or e-mail: