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Talk to me about... Shin Splints

Shin splints are a common problem that affects many people who engage in physical activity, particularly runners and athletes. It is a condition that causes pain and discomfort in the front part of the lower leg. Although shin splints are not usually serious, they can be very painful and can prevent individuals from participating in the activities they enjoy.

Causes of Shin Splints

Shin splints occur when there is too much stress placed on the shinbone and the tissues that connect the muscles to the bone. This can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  1. Overuse: Overuse is one of the most common causes of shin splints. This occurs when an individual engages in repetitive activities, such as running or jumping, without allowing the muscles in the legs to rest and recover.

  2. Incorrect form or technique: Improper form or technique during physical activity can place excessive stress on the muscles and bones in the lower leg, leading to shin splints.

  3. Flat feet or high arches: Individuals who have flat feet or high arches are more likely to develop shin splints because their feet do not provide adequate support to the lower leg muscles.

  4. Poor footwear: Wearing shoes that do not provide enough support or cushioning can also lead to shin splints.

Symptoms of Shin Splints

The primary symptom of shin splints is pain in the front part of the lower leg. This pain may be dull or sharp and may worsen with activity. Other symptoms may include:

  1. Swelling in the lower leg

  2. Tenderness or soreness in the lower leg

  3. Weakness in the lower leg muscles

  4. Numbness or tingling in the lower leg

Treatment for Shin Splints

Treatment for shin splints typically involves rest and self-care measures, including:

  1. Rest: Resting the affected leg is one of the most important things you can do to help relieve pain and promote healing. Avoid activities that exacerbate the pain, and gradually reintroduce physical activity once the pain has subsided.

  2. Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Apply ice for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times per day.

  3. Compression: Wearing a compression sleeve or wrapping the affected area with an elastic bandage can help reduce swelling and promote healing.

  4. Elevation: Elevating the affected leg above heart level can also help reduce swelling.

  5. Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Preventing Shin Splints

To prevent shin splints, it is important to:

  1. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of physical activity

  2. Use proper form and technique during physical activity

  3. Wear shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning

  4. Incorporate strength training exercises into your workout routine to help build leg muscles

  5. Stretch before and after physical activity to help prevent muscle strain

Shin splints are a common problem that can be very painful and prevent individuals from participating in physical activity. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatments for shin splints, individuals can take steps to prevent this condition from occurring and get back to the activities they enjoy.

If you would like our help in treating shin splints, please book an appointment at Front Foot Physiotherapy. Alternatively, if you would like to discuss treatment options, feel free to email us at

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