Does Your Shin Pain Limit Your Running?

Don’t let shin splints stop you from crossing the finish line! 

By Nathanael (Nate) Chan, Physiotherapist

 

Have you ever felt a niggle or sharp pain in your shins whenever you run or exercise? It could be shin splints.

Shin splints or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome is a common injury that causes pain anywhere along the inside of the shin bone from the ankle up towards the knee. People who participate in a lot of running or running activities through sports (rugby, football, basketball, hockey, etc.) tend to suffer from shin splints. 

One of the main reason why people get shin splints is because they do too much too soon. Each of us has an ‘exercise threshold’ – the amount of exercise we can do without adverse effects. When we exceed this threshold, we leave ourselves prone to injury.

Common causes

  • Sudden increase in training duration or intensity
  • Increased foot pronation (see image below)
  • High impact activities/surfaces/inclines
  • Inappropriate, worn out or inadequate footwear
  • Incorrect running technique (see image below)
  • Previous/old injuries

3 types of incorrect heel strike positions


Treatment

  • Ice
  • Stretching
  • Strengthening exercises for the core and legs
  • Gradual and progressive running program

How long does shin splints take to heal?

Generally, shin splints can take between a few weeks to a few months to get better, depending on the severity, your fitness level, etc. Unfortunately, you cannot just avoid the problem and expect it to heal with time. While shin splints might seem like a minor issue, if you do not treat the cause, it can lead to more serious complications.

If you’re concerned about your shin pain, contact one of our Physiotherapists at Barangaroo Clinic for some advice today.