Shin splits: Tips to keep you running!
What are shin splints?
‘Shin splints’ is a term used to describe shin pain along the inside or front edges of the shin. It’s very common among runners and impact type sports such as football.
The term can encompass a variety of different diagnoses – such as medial tibial stress syndrome, tendinopathies, chronic exertional compartment syndrome or more serious conditions such as a tibial bone stress fracture.
What are the causes of shin splints?
Shin splints can often come about due to an overload or overtraining, such as:
- An increase in training volume (eg. Distance in day/week/month, extra training sessions)
- Increasing your pace of running or intensity or adding more impact work into your usual routine
- Addition of incline or hill work into running routine
- Other factors may include:
- Poor ankle joint mobility
- Poor running technique (slow cadence, high ‘bounce’, over-striding)
- Change in running shoes or surface
- Reduced hip and knee strength and stability
- Weakness throughout the lower limb
- Tight calf muscles and hamstrings
- Foot posture
What can I do to help my shin splints?
- Check in with your physiotherapist. Your physio is highly skilled at assessing and managing this condition by helping to address the underlying causes and come up with a plan to get you back running. They will help to come up with a load management and rehab plan and address any other contributing factors. Your physio can also help to rule out other serious conditions, such as a stress fracture.
- Gradual increase in running load – Avoiding sharp increases in running or training loads is important to avoid developing shin pain or other overload injuries. The 10% rule works well here – slowly increase your total distance or time by 10% each week. Cross training can be useful to “fill in the gaps” while you are gradually increasing your running capacity.
- Schedule in rest days – Consider having a rest day after each running session to allow your body to recover. This will also help you perform better during your running sessions.
- Strength training – Having strong leg and calf muscles can help you to better absorb force while you are running and hence reduce the force on your bones. Having strong lower limb muscles can reduce the likelihood of developing overload injuries.
If you have any questions about your shin pain, don’t hesitate to email us or give the clinic a call on 1300 189 289 to chat to one of our physiotherapists today.
Written by Themi Roditis
Marden myPhysioSA Physiotherapist