shin-splintsShin splints is a general term used in sports medicine for the pain that arises in between the knee and ankles. It is particularly common among athletes who engage themselves in regular running and physical activities.

Though there are many causes behind the pain generated in that area, but it is assumed that Shin splints is a cumulative stress disorder unlike an acute injury. Shin splints occur when the stress applied on the bone, muscles and joints of the body overpower the natural ability of the body to repair damage.

Cause of Shin Splints:

There are varieties of factors that can lead to development of Shin splints. Most of these factors come under biomechanical category which is primarily abnormal movement and over training. The most common cause are:

  • Most common cause of Shin splints is overuse of muscles and bones.
  • Excessive running on a hard surface.
  • Generation of microscopic fracture in lower leg bones due to constant pounding of leg bones.
  • Beginner runners are more likely to develop Shin splints as their muscles are not used to handle such stress and impacts.
  • Lack of warm up and improper stretching can also lead to Shin splints.
  • Training too hard or changing your training scheme which includes sudden increase in training intensity.
  • Wearing inadequate foot wear which doesn’t support your legs.

Symptoms of Shin splints:

The most common symptom of Shin splints is pain in lower leg bone(Tibia or Shin). The other symptoms that may be experienced are

  1. Severe pain at the starts of practice but gradually diminish as you continue training.
  2. The pain returns when you stop exercise and become seriously worse when you start the next day.
  3. Swelling and lumps may be experienced on the lower leg.
  4. Pain when you turn your toes or foot downwards

Cure for Shin Splints:

The first step towards the cure of Shin splints is to identify the true cause of it. The pain may be the outcome of any activity which includes running, jumping, improper shoes, hard surface or excessive training. Based on the actual probable cause of Shin splints, you may try these solutions.

  1. If the cause of Shin splints is inappropriate worn out shoes, you can change it with a new comfortable shoes for shin splint. Manufactures provide shoes based on specific activities like running, playing tennis, playing volleyball or other sports. You may choose shoes based on your need. Shoes should fit easily and must feel comfortable. Shoes with shock absorbing insoles are beneficial.

  2. Running on a hard surface is another source of Shin splints. If you are running on a hard surface, you must select a softer surface for running. You can choose nearby garden for your running need.
  3. Don’t overstress your muscles. Take short breaks in between your training. If you feel pain, stop training.
  4. Ice packs on the legs are effective in relieving the pain. Keep your legs at an elevated position and apply cold compresses.
  5. If you experience intense pain which is not fading with cold compresses, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor.
  6. Stretching and warm-up before training is an excellent way to avoid Shin splints. You can learn some Shin Splint Stretches to avoid shin splints.
  7. Your weight plays an important role in Shin splints. Excessive weight causes more stress on your legs and leads to Shin splints.
  8. If your sole purpose of training is to maintaining fitness, you can choose other fitness exercise like swimming or cycling.
  9. Running on flat feet give more stress to shins so always avoid it. You should give pressure on your toes while running.
  10. You can use some anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate the pain. Mild heat massage therapy can also be a good alternative to reduce pain and keep the muscles flexible.

These are few tips you may follow if you are suffering from shin splints.

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Posted on: 10.02.2013 16:50

I have been running for 12 years now. I have run with many people in the local running club and I think the number one cause of shin splints, well actually 2 causes, is wearing the wrong shoes and over-training. You need to go to a good running store and allow them to fit you with a good shoe. Also, you have to be reasonable in your training. You simply can not begin by running 2 miles this week and then trying for 6 next week. Take it slow and you will avoid shin splints most of the time.


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