All Things Shin Splints

APRIL, 2020

Medial tibial stress syndrome, more commonly known as shin splints can be described as the dull and nagging ache that is located along the inner shin and often comes with slight swelling. Although shin splints are not too serious to begin with, treatment is recommended as soon as pain occurs, as the injury could progress to a stress fracture if you prolong treatment or continue normal participation in running sports.


In simple terms, shin splints are caused by overstraining the muscles that attach to your shin. The most common cause is overuse or overtraining associated with poor foot and leg biomechanics (abnormal movement patterns). The impact of running creates a lot of repeated stress on the body, in particular the legs. The muscles and bones in your body need time to adapt and recover to build strength, without this, injury can occur. Ensure the frequency, duration and intensity of your sporting activities are carefully considered.

Specific Causes of Shin Splints

  • Increased training frequency or intensity too quickly

  • A previous injury

  • Insufficient rest between loads

  • Hard or angled surfaces, for example, a netball court

  • Overpronation of your feet

  • Unsupportive footwear

  • Decreased flexibility at the ankle joint

  • Greater internal and external hip ROM

What do we recommend at Motus for all things shin splints?


  • Anything that causes you pain in your shins, put on hold until advised by your Motus practitioner.

  • Ice the area on a regular basis. Ice is a simple and effective modality to reduce the inflammation and pain. Up to 30 minutes at a time is recommended.

  • Keep up the rehabilitation exercises provided by your Motus practitioner. These exercises will restore muscle strength in your legs and normalise your foot biomechanics. Your compliance with treatment and ability to get your exercises done will determine how long it takes you to successfully rehabilitate.

  • A modified training program and a gradual return to sport. This will prevent recurrence and improve your sporting performance. Your practitioner will revise your goals, time frames and sporting commitments with you to optimise you for a complete return to sport with full speed, power, agility, function and most importantly no pain!

Keep in mind there is no exact time frame for shin splints to heal. The status of your injury can be determined by your practitioner once a clinical assessment has been performed.


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