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Shin Splints Treatment

Banish Shin Pain: Effective Shin Splints Treatment Strategies

Shin splints slow you down? Learn about shin splint treatment, how to treat them quickly, and how to prevent them from recurring with the practical advice detailed in this helpful article.

Key Takeaways

  • Shin splints, or medial tibial stress syndrome, are typically caused by overuse or stress on shin bones and muscles and can be exacerbated by inappropriate footwear, flat feet, or a sudden increase in physical activity.
  • Immediate relief for shin splints includes rest, ice therapy, elevation of affected limbs, and NSAIDs for pain and swelling. At the same time, long-term strategies involve physical therapy, stretching, strengthening exercises, and optimizing footwear.
  • For chronic or severe cases of shin splints, advanced treatments like surgery, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, or alternative therapies may be necessary, and preventative measures include a gradual increase in activity, proper muscle warm-ups, and maintaining healthy body weight.

Understanding Shin Splints and Their Impact on Your Exercise Routine

Illustration of lower leg muscles and bones

Medial tibial stress syndrome, also known as shin splints, causes pain in the front of your lower legs. This discomfort results from overuse or strain on the shin bones, muscles in the lower leg and their connecting tissues. The intensity of this pain increases during and after physical activity, making it particularly excruciating.

Several factors can increase one’s risk for developing shin splints, including having flat feet or high arches, wearing unsupportive shoes while exercising, weak lower leg muscles, inadequate warm-up or cooldown routines and sudden spikes in physical exertion levels.

Shin splints can be categorized into anterior (front), medial (inner) or posterior (back), depending on which part of the leg is affected by inflammation. Knowing these distinctions may help you tailor your workout routine to prevent them from occurring.

Immediate Relief for Shin Splint Discomfort

Photo of ice pack on lower leg

Do you suffer from shin splint pain? You can alleviate it quickly by taking a break, using cold treatment, and keeping the affected leg elevated. Let’s take a closer look at these methods for managing shin splints.

Cold Therapy Applications

Cold therapy is one of the initial methods for reducing discomfort caused by shin splints. Applying ice to the affected area is more effective than heat, as it can help alleviate pain and swelling, whereas heat may increase inflammation. This can be quickly done by following these steps:

  1. Place a flexible gel-filled ice pack on your shin.
  2. Wrap the ice pack with a towel.
  3. Leave it in place for 15-20 minutes at a time.
  4. Repeat this process up to 8 times per day.

Other options for implementing cold therapy include using massage rollers designed to deliver cooling relief to calf muscles, utilizing machines that continuously provide targeted cold treatment, or even taking short (less than 20 minutes) immersion baths in icy water. When constantly on the go, individuals may find topical gels containing cooling ingredients beneficial as they offer quick and convenient muscle pain relief solutions without hassle.Additional Information:

It should also be noted that stretching exercises focusing on strengthening and loosening tight calf muscles are often recommended, along with applying cold therapy for optimal results when dealing with shin splint discomfort. Furthermore, it’s essential not to exceed the designated lengths of use stated above while performing activities such as running, sprinting, etc. This will give a sufficient recovery period for each session, reducing risks or worsening situations. It’s advisable to wear appropriate footwear since our feet absorb most of the impacts from walking, jogging, and running. The use of compression sleeves/wraps reduces the frequency of injuries. Research has shown promising results.

The Role of NSAIDs

NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, play an essential role in providing immediate relief for shin splints. These can be easily obtained over the counter, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. The use of NSAIDs is recommended to alleviate pain and reduce swelling that often accompanies shin splint injuries.

In the initial phase of treating a case of shin splints, it is beneficial to utilize various forms of treatment options such as:

  • taking NSAIDs, which have been shown to help with mild inflammation while promoting healing within soft tissues
  • allowing time for rest before resuming physical activity ensures the best results during this acute stage
  • cold therapy has also proven effective in decreasing both swelling and discomfort

Combining these suggested methods can increase recovery speed, thus effectively addressing symptoms commonly seen with cases involving shin splints.

Long-Term Treatment and Rehabilitation Strategies

Immediate relief is essential, but it’s also vital to consider long-term treatment and rehabilitation techniques to prevent shin splints from returning.

In the following paragraphs, we will delve deeper into these strategies.

Customized Physical Therapy Programs

A physical therapist is an essential component of treating and preventing shin splints. They can provide a personalized plan to prevent future occurrences, aid in recovery, and gradually reintroduce activity. One such program might involve strengthening exercises like heel walking that target the muscles around the lower shins, calves, and quads.

Consulting with a physical therapist to evaluate and correct running or jumping techniques can also help avoid developing shin splints. By utilizing specialized exercises and addressing biomechanical issues specific to each individual’s needs, tailored plans from a physical therapist are crucial in effectively managing symptoms related to shin splints.

Importance of Stretching and Strengthening

In discussions about preventing shin splints, the utmost importance lies in stretching and strengthening exercises like those targeting shins. One critical stretch is the ankle dorsiflexion, which increases lower leg muscle flexibility and mobility to reduce strain during physical activities. To address tightness in calf muscles and Achilles tendons, various positions such as straight knee wall stretches or seated options are also effective for promoting good dorsiflexion that can avoid developing shin splints.

Exercises that prove beneficial for avoiding shin splint problems include towel toe curls, wall raises on toes with heel lifting off of the ground at a high angle (“Wall Toe Raises”), and more direct raising heels routines (called “Heel Raises”) alongside plyometric lunge movements. Standing stances present slight difficulties through placing weight upon balls of feet following bent knee exercises – all evenly distribute impact stress throughout your legs, boosting strength within calves plus serving advantages lowering risk factors prompting future problems associated with getting painful perforations situated near the front side area along hind portion lower extremities onto inside tibias sides while conducting sporting events leading by runners-athletes shared pain.

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Building on overall shin strength and stopping the risk of painful shin splint is possible by carrying out exercises targeting soleus muscles and other auxiliary (supplementary) shin support forces.

Optimizing Footwear to Prevent Shin Splints

Photo of supportive running shoes

The role of footwear is crucial in the prevention of shin splints. Wearing improper shoes can worsen the condition while wearing suitable ones can assist in avoiding it altogether. Let’s explore the details of this matter.

Selecting Supportive Shoes

Selecting appropriate shoes is crucial for preventing shin splints. The correct heel support in shoes plays a significant role in maintaining proper alignment of the feet and lower legs, ultimately reducing the risk of developing shin splints. Some shoe technologies like DNA LOFT have been designed to offer maximum cushioning, providing extra protection for the feet and lower legs to prevent shin splints.

Ensuring running shoes fit well is essential for suitable footwear with adequate heel support. Ill-fitting ones can affect one’s running mechanics and increase their chances of experiencing Shin splint pain. Replacing athletic shoes before they become worn out is another essential step towards preventing these painful injuries by maintaining good foot support during exercise or physical activity.

When to Consider Orthotics

Orthotics and arch supports can be practical tools in addressing shin splints. People with flat feet or high arches are more prone to experiencing this condition, highlighting the need for appropriate footwear that caters to their foot structure. Orthotics and arch support work by aligning the foot and ankle, decreasing strain on the lower legs, which helps prevent shin splints from occurring.

Runners who suffer from overpronation may find relief through motion-control running shoes as they provide stability for the feet and minimize excessive inward rolling that contributes to developing shin splints. For a targeted approach tailored specifically for an individual’s unique foot shape, custom-made orthotics offer support to resolve biomechanical issues associated with shinsplint development.

Modifying Your Exercise Routine to Avoid Shin Splints

Illustration of modified exercise routine

To wear appropriate footwear, modifying your workout plan can significantly reduce the likelihood of developing shin splints. It is critical to gradually ease back into physical activities after experiencing shin splint pain, starting with exercises that do not cause discomfort and slowly increasing intensity or distance instead of immediately returning to previous levels.

Engaging in low-impact cross-training exercises like swimming or cycling can maintain cardiovascular fitness while allowing shins time to heal. Specific workouts such as toe curls, calf raises, heel walking single leg bridges, resistance band training sessions, and targeted warm-up and cooldown routines can strengthen the muscles around the shin bone and improve their ability to withstand stress.

By targeting these muscles through regular exercise routines and surrounding areas, the risk of developing painful symptoms associated with shin splints may be reduced significantly, strengthening them and making it more likely they will be able to sustain any future strain on this body part. Protect yourself from unnecessary by taking precautions against issues explicitly related to attacks: shin problems, particularly problems. You should make sure to include all necessary care information. The facts inside your routine texts are present here.

Advanced Treatment Options for Persistent Shin Pain

Shin pain may persist or reoccur even after trying the abovementioned methods. In such scenarios, more advanced treatment alternatives may be necessary to alleviate the pain effectively.

When Surgery Might Be Necessary

In severe shin splints, surgery is only recommended after all other treatment options have been exhausted and with the guidance of a medical expert. It should be viewed as a last-resort measure for addressing this condition.

Alternative Therapies and Interventions

Alternative therapies can be beneficial in managing shin splints compared to standard treatments. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) uses high-energy sound waves to promote healing in the bones, tendons, and soft tissue for persistent shin splints. 3-4 sessions over several weeks are recommended for ESWT treatment of shin splints. While there may be some discomfort during the procedure, pain management strategies can help alleviate any discomfort by adjusting the intensity of the therapy.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a different approach to treating Shin Splint with herbal remedies and techniques like tuina massage and acupuncture. Some suggested anti-inflammatory options that can relieve muscle pain associated with Shin Splint include ginger root extract, turmeric supplements, valerian root tea, and topical application of coconut oil.

Recognizing and Addressing Complications

Proper management of shin splints involves identifying and addressing potential complications. To diagnose this condition, it is essential to rule out stress fractures using imaging tests like X-rays or bone scans. Stress fractures typically cause pain that starts during physical activity and worsens over time.

It’s also essential to consider chronic exertional compartment syndrome as a possible diagnosis, which presents with pain after prolonged exercise that improves with rest. Failure to allow adequate healing time for shin splints may lead to more severe conditions, such as stress fractures, requiring treatments ranging from rest and supportive devices to surgery.

Lifestyle Adjustments to Support Healing

Promoting the healing of shin splints involves more than just medical treatments. Making specific lifestyle changes is also essential. To aid in recovery, here are some dietary tips to keep in mind:

  • Incorporate foods high in Vitamin D and calcium into your diet, such as fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified cereals.
  • Follow an anti-inflammatory eating plan that includes salmon, walnuts

Prevention Is Better Than Cure: How to Avoid Future Shin Splints

To prevent the occurrence of shin splints, it is essential to remember that prevention is better than cure. Gradually increasing intensity in high-impact sports and avoiding sudden spikes in physical activity can help avoid future incidents. Incorporating multi-muscle group exercises like footstep holds into your routine can also be beneficial.

To reduce stress on the shins and lower the chances of developing shin splints, specific measures should be taken, such as shortening running strides, increasing cadence, opting for softer surfaces like grass or synthetic tracks while exercising, and including a proper warm-up with dynamic stretches targeting lower body muscles.

Regularly stretching out calf muscles before engaging in any physical activity increases their flexibility, which is crucial in preventing overuse injuries that may lead to shin splints. Another important preventive measure is maintaining a healthy weight, as excess body weight strains bones and muscles, making them more susceptible to injury or damage during exercise.


In conclusion, shin splints are common among active individuals, but they don’t have to sideline your fitness goals. Understanding their cause, symptoms, and impact on your exercise routine can aid in effective management and treatment. From immediate relief methods like cold therapy and NSAIDs to long-term strategies like physical therapy, stretching, and strengthening, there are several ways to combat shin splints. Proper footwear, modifications to your exercise routine, and even dietary changes can all contribute to shin splint prevention. Remember, prevention is better than cure, and consistent care and attention to your body can keep you on your feet and active.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get rid of shin splints fast?

To quickly relieve shin splints, it is crucial to give your body proper rest and avoid any activities that cause discomfort. Applying a cold compress on the affected area can help alleviate pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers may also be beneficial in managing symptoms.

In more severe cases, using ice therapy and incorporating stretching exercises into your routine may aid in promoting healing and reducing discomfort. Consulting with a physical therapist could also provide valuable guidance for treating this condition effectively.

How long does it take shin splints to heal?

Shin splints typically recover within several weeks if proper treatment and rest are followed, but a complete healing process may take 3 to 6 months.

Refraining from overexertion during the recovery period is crucial to prevent damage.

Gradual activity incrementation should be practised instead of sudden increases, which could lead to re-injury.

Is it OK to walk with shin splints?

It is not advisable to continue walking while experiencing shin splints. It is crucial to give your shins a break and allow them time to recover. Instead, consider engaging in low-impact activities like swimming or cycling as alternatives for staying physically active during this healing period.

Should you stretch shin splints?

Yes, stretching is essential for alleviating and preventing shin splints as it helps build up the muscles and avoid stress fractures.

What is a shin splint?

Shin splints refer to discomfort and soreness on the inner side of the shinbone, commonly triggered by activities involving high impact, such as running or sports. Taking a break from these activities can help alleviate symptoms, and it is rare for them to cause long-term problems.

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