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How to Prevent and Treat Shin Splints from Running: A Complete Guide


If you’re an athlete, dancer, or just someone who loves a good workout, you might have had a rendezvous with this pesky pain. Familiar to many as that gnawing ache along the front of your lower leg, shin splints, or for the scientifically inclined, “medial tibial stress syndrome,” can be a real pain – quite literally.

Let’s get down to understanding why our shins decide to revolt against us sometimes.

Why Do We Get Shin Splints?

Your shin splints might be your body’s way of saying, “Hey! Something’s off here!” They often come around when:

  • Pushing Too Hard, Too Soon: Think of that time you decided to double your running distance in just a week. Such sudden changes might upset the balance of your shinbone and its surrounding tissues.
  • Those Trendy Shoes Aren’t Helping: Sometimes, it’s not about how the shoe looks, but how it supports. If it’s not offering the right cushioning, your shins might bear the brunt.
  • The Way You Run: Sometimes it’s not about how much you run but how you run. If your foot tends to roll inwards more than usual (overpronation), it might just be causing extra stress to your lower leg.
  • Tough Terrains: Continuously running on unforgiving surfaces like concrete can be harsh on your shins.

What’s It Feel Like?

Generally, you feel a dull or sharp pain along the inside of your shinbone. It starts as a mild annoyance and, if you decide to ignore it, can turn into a throbbing concern.

Steering Clear of Shin Splints

  • Easy Does It: Instead of jumping into intense routines, pace yourself. A gradual increase is key to giving your body the time it needs to adjust.
  • Footwear Matters: Trust me, your feet will thank you if you invest in a good pair of shoes, especially if they’re suited to your activity. If running’s your jam, get a gait analysis done. It’ll be worth it.
  • Muscle Power: Strengthening your calves, shins, and ankles can be a game-changer. It not only supports but reduces the risk of injuries.
  • Stretch it Out: Making a habit of stretching, especially focusing on the calf muscles and Achilles tendon, can ward off shin splints.
  • Mix It Up: Give your shins a break by adding low-impact activities like swimming or cycling to your routine.

If you’re already on first-name terms with shin splints:

  • Rest Up: It’s okay to take a break or switch to gentler activities.
  • Cold Comfort: Ice packs can be your best friend when inflammation sets in.
  • Over-the-counter Relief: Consider pain relievers like ibuprofen but always give your doctor a ring before starting any medication.
  • Therapy Time: A physical therapist can guide you with exercises and stretches that soothe and strengthen.
  • Orthotics to the Rescue: If your shin splints are due to how you move, custom orthotics might be the answer.

In a nutshell, while shin splints are undeniably bothersome, they’re not invincible. With a bit of understanding, some preventive measures, and timely care, you can keep them at bay and get back to your active self. And always remember, if the pain persists, a chat with your healthcare professional is a wise move.

Our Client Story: Emily’s Journey to Pain-Free Running

I’ve always been an avid runner, but recently, I started experiencing this nagging pain in my shins. It was like my legs were screaming at me, “Hey, something’s off!” I tried to ignore it, thinking it would go away, but the pain only intensified. I was desperate for a solution, and that’s when I stumbled upon an article about shin splints from the Perfect Balance Clinic. It was like a light bulb went off in my head.

I decided to book an appointment at their Cambridge clinic. The moment I walked in, I felt welcomed. The ambiance was calming, and the staff was incredibly friendly. I was assigned to Maud, an osteopath, who was as attentive as she was warm. She reminded me of Anna Fenton’s experience, who had rated the clinic 5 stars, saying, “Maud was thorough and attentive as well as chatty and warm. I feel great now. Thanks, Maud and PB clinic Cambridge.”

Maud conducted a thorough gait analysis, which was an eye-opener. I learned that my foot tends to roll inwards more than usual, causing extra stress on my lower leg. It was like Angela’s experience, who had said, “After Phil watched me walk with & without shoes, he was able to look at scans and TELL ME WHY I HAVE PAIN. FINALLY. It has been months now. I rarely ever get pain…only when I go back to old habits.”

Maud suggested a series of exercises and stretches tailored to my condition. She also recommended a pair of running shoes that would offer the right kind of support. I felt like I was in safe hands, and for the first time in weeks, I felt hopeful.

As I continued with the treatment, I started to notice a significant improvement. The pain was subsiding, and I was able to get back to my running routine, albeit gradually. The clinic also offered me custom orthotics to further alleviate the stress on my shins.

What struck me the most was how customer-focused the entire journey was. From the initial diagnosis to the treatment plan, everything was tailored to my specific needs. It was not just about treating the symptoms but understanding the root cause and addressing it.

I’m running once more, and I’ve never felt this good. I owe a big thanks to the Perfect Balance Clinic for getting me back on the right path, in every sense. This journey has completely transformed how I feel, both in my body and my heart.

If this article resonated with you then…

This article was written by our team of specialist therapists at Perfect Balance Clinic. If you would like more specific advice about how our team can help you with this condition or symptoms you may be having, please complete the contact form below and one of the team will get back to you shortly.

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