Shin Splints – putting your best foot forward!

What are shin splints?

Shin splints is a very common overuse injury. The term refers to pain along the shin bone (tibia), which is the large bone in the front of your lower leg.

How do shin splints develop?

This condition develops from repeated stress to the shin bone by the pulling and tugging of the muscles and connective tissue in the lower leg.

Frequent, repetitive pressure from running and jumping cause the shin bone to become swollen, painful, irritated, and weakened.

When the bone does not have time to heal, the damage can get worse and cause severe pain.

The good news is that most cases clear up with rest and ice without any long-term health problems. However, if left untreated, shin splints have the potential to develop into a tibial stress fracture.

Who can get shin splints?

Although anyone can get shin splints, some people have a higher chance of developing this condition.

Groups with a higher risk include:

  • Runners, especially those who run on uneven surfaces or suddenly up their activity level
  • People who wear badly fitted or unsupportive shoes when exercising
  • Walking extreme distances
  • Dancers
  • Athletes who play high-impact sports that put stress on the lower legs
  • People who have flat feet, high arches or very rigid arches as the muscles and bones may not be able to absorb or distribute the force from impact and loading activities
  • People who have osteoporosis (a condition that weakens bones) or osteopenia (loss of bone mineral density) who may already have weaker bones

5 symptoms of shin splints

  1. Dull Pain

The most common symptom associated with this condition is a dull pain that can occur in various parts of the leg.

Most people report pain along the inside of the shin, and typically in the middle or bottom part of the shin. The pain can be felt in varying degrees but is mostly described as dull and long-lasting.

The pain can be intense, especially after or during physical exercise. If you experience this type of pain, consult your Chiropractor for a precise diagnosis.

  1. Tenderness

If you have a shin splint, the affected area may feel warm to the touch, and the muscles can feel tender when pressed.

The inside of the shin may also be tender when squeezed. A feeling of heat often accompanies this symptom. You may also experience inflamed or red skin near the affected area. Depending on the area of the leg, tenderness may be more or less visible.

  1. Reduced flexibility

When the muscles in the leg, and especially the lower calf area, become stiff and hard, flexibility is often compromised. This might make it difficult to operate within a normal range of motion.

To improve flexibility, first and foremost it is vital to consult your Chiropractor before testing any home remedies. If possible, perform stretches to improve flexibility and aid recovery. Make sure to conduct all stretches as instructed by your Chiropractor, so you don’t make the condition any worse.

  1. Pain that gets better with rest

One of the symptoms associated with this condition is pain that dissipates after rest. When your muscle is inactive and relaxed, inflammation and discomfort levels go down.

However, you may also notice more pain in the morning following a good night’s sleep; this is because the soft tissue around the affected area becomes slightly inflamed. If you feel any discomfort, apply an ice pack onto the area for a few minutes. Contact your Chiropractor for more detailed advice.

  1. Tight muscles

Tight muscles are especially common in injuries that occur in the lower part of the leg. If the affected muscles are trained too hard or too fast, they can become tight. This then leads to the development of shin splints.

The best way to treat stiffness is to rest; afterward, muscle strengthening, and stretching are necessary for a full recovery. You could also try a remedial or sports massage to aid in recovery.

How can Chiropractic treatment help?

Chiropractic treatment can not only treat and rehabilitate shin splints but can also make it less likely for them to return in the future.

Chiropractic treatment reduces the pain from this condition which is slowly reduced over a period of visits.

Chiropractic adjustments to the calf, foot and ankle help the muscles to stretch so that blood flow can move more freely in these areas, aiding recovery.

Interestingly chiropractic adjustments attempt to correct problems by looking at the whole picture and not just a specific area. As the musculoskeletal system is connected throughout the whole body, adjustments to the spine can affect distant other body parts, like the shins!

If you would like some further information or to speak to a member of our team please call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us at: or .