Leg Pain

Shin splints

What is it:

Shin splints is a broad term used to describe pain in the front and inside of the shin. It is most commonly experienced after starting or an increase of physical activities or after a change of ground surface for physical activities. The pain can derive from different causes such as:

  • Inflammation of the muscles around the shinbone,
  • Inflammation of the periosteum layer which is a membrane the covers the outer layer of the bone
  • Micro-tears in the muscles attached to the shin bone
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Causes/risk factors:

  • High level of physical activity
  • Increase of physical activity
  • Training on hard surfaces
  • Poor footwear
  • Pronated foot type
  • Reduced ankle dorsiflexion
  • Previous history of shin splints
  • Conditions that effect bone density.

Symptoms & signs:

  • Tenderness along the shin bone
  • Rarely traumatic event involved, gradual onset.
  • Pain worsens with increased duration, or intensity with running or jumping activities.
  • Pain reduces once exercises ends
  • Delayed onset muscle soreness (soreness that occurs a day or two following exercise).


  • Icing
  • Supportive footwear
  • Avoid high impact activities and activities that requires hills, stairs and hard surfaces
  • Relative rest (cycling, swimming, low impact activities) or complete rest may be required for 2-6 weeks to allow the shin to heal
  • Pain relief medication

Podiatry treatment:

  • Footwear assessment and advice
  • Dry needling
  • Manual therapy
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Return to sport programme to prevent re-injuring.
  • Orthotic therapy to address any biomechanical abnormalities that puts strain on the shin bones