Shin splints

What are they?

‘Shin splints’ is an umbrella term for several conditions which can cause pain in your shins. It is also known as ‘medial tibial stress syndrome.’ The pain is usually in the inside of your leg and can be caused by:

  • Irritated and swollen tendons which attach muscle to your shin bone
  • ‘Stress fractures’ which are small breaks in your shin bones

How do they happen?

Shin splints normally occur from impact activity such as running or jumping. They often happen when people have had a sudden increase in the amount of sport they play, the number of miles they are running or a change in shoes. Shin splints are common in runners, netballers, basket-ballers and footballers. Shin splints may also be a result of poor foot position. They may also happen if you havea lack of Calcium in your diet.

What do they feel like?

The term shin splints incorporate any type of pain you feel on the inside of your lower leg. If you have pain on the outside of your leg it is likely to be a different injury. Usually shin splints hurt when you do exercise. Generally shin splints feel like a vague aching feeling. If the pain is acute and localised it may be because of a stress fracture. Shin splints often hurt at the beginning of exercise, disappear as you warm up, and reappear with a vengeance when you finish. However this is not always the case.

How are they diagnosed?

Your physiotherapist is likely to diagnose shin splints by the history of how it started and after an initial examination. Palpation of specific bones and muscles will also help Generally further investigations aren’t needed but sometimes X-rays or scans may be needed to rule out stress fractures.

What can Back in Action Physiotherapy do to help?

Although resting is a key factor in rehabilitation of shin splints, it is also important to stop them happening again. The first thing we will do at Back In Action is establish the cause of your shin splints so that we can stop the root of the problem. For example you may have weakness in certain leg Photo