Shin splints, or tibial stress syndrome, is typically pain along the inner or outer surface of the shin, that decreases with running in its early stages. In later stages, the pain occurs earlier on in running and continues until you stop running.
Frequent causes of shin splints include:
- Running without enough shock absorption (running on cement or uneven surfaces, improper running shoes)
- Training errors (sudden increase in training intensity and duration)
- Running >20 miles/week
- Hill training early in the season
- Over-pronation or increased internal tibial rotation
DIY Shin Splint Treatments
Activity modification with nonoperative treatments include:
- Decrease running distance, frequency and/or intensity by 50%
- Use low-impact and cross-training exercises during the rehab period and maintain during training for running races
- Regular stretching and strengthening
- Run on synthetic track, and/or avoid running on hills, uneven or hard surfaces
- Shoe modifications and change running shoes every 250-500 miles as shoes lose shock absorbing capacity at this distance. The heavier you are, the sooner you should replace your shoes.
- Orthotics may be helpful in patients with pes planus, or collapsing arches
Shin Splint Prevention
If the DIY method still has not helped, physical therapy may be warranted to provide specific instruction on training of the invertors and evertors of the foot and ankle. Manual therapy can also help with shins splints, such as fascial counterstrain. At our clinic, we can do a running assessment to see if it is something happening during your running stride that needs to be modified as well. This is the most helpful tactic to help prevent recurrence.