Shin Splints

Shin splints is a term used to describe pain in the lower leg that occurs during exercise. Experts differ when explaining what the exact condition is, although most agree that it involves the muscles that run from the knee to the ankle and the side of the foot, which surround the shinbone or tibia. Injuries that result in small tears in the fibres of these muscles probably cause the pain known as shin splints.


Shin splints are characterized by pain, aching, and occasionally, swelling anywhere in the lower leg. However, the pain is most often in the following locations:

  • On the front of the leg, toward the inside.
  • On the inner side of the leg, toward the back
  • Shin splints are more likely to occur in sports men and women when first starting out, or at the beginning of the season.

Self Treatment

  • Ice immediately after running for 15 minutes, never before (Never apply ice directly to the skin put the ice in a plastic bag and put a cloth next to your skin).
  • Ibuprofen, to reduce inflammation and relieve pain (always seek advice from your pharmacist before taking any medication).
  • Reduce mileage and intensity for 7 to 10 days; never run through pain.
  • Alternative Exercises: Non-impact exercises such as swimming, pool running, walking, cycling in low gear.
  • Avoid hills and hard running surfaces.
  • Gentle stretching of the posterior leg and thigh muscles.
  • Donít train in hard soled soccer or hockey boots.
  • Medical Treatment: If the injury doesn't respond to self-treatment and rest in two to four weeks, see a podiatrist and/or a physiotherapist

Further information

This article published on
04 December 2005

Next review date 12/1/2013


First aid

Areaof the body

Legs, knees, ankles, feet

Male or female?


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