Shin Pain

Shin Pain

Shin pain is incredibly common in runners and most will suffer from some form of shin pain at some stage of their training.

Pain in the lower leg or “shins” is often referred to as “Shin Splints.”

There are several different types of shin split and each form is diagnosed based predominantly on the location and nature of the pain.

By far the most common form experienced by runners, and the type to look at in more detail, is medial tibial stress syndrome.

Symptoms

  • Depending on the exact cause and structure affected, pain can be felt on the shin bone (tibia) or the muscles on the inside of it.
  • Pain on the shin bone - usually about two thirds up the shin.
  • Pain on running, which may dissipate after a while.
  • In the advanced stage, discomfort can be felt whilst walking and at rest
  • Pain can be triggered by standing on tip toe.

Causes

As is the case with so many injuries, there are several potential causes of shin splints and medial tibial stress syndrome such as:

  • Over training,
  • Change of running surface (from hard to soft ground or vice versa)
  • Increase in training intensity

However, the major cause is muscular imbalance, particularly in the lower leg(s)

The “Overhead Squat” assessment is excellent at spotting possible muscular imbalances which could cause medial tibial stress syndrome.

Watch the Video above for more information and / or perform the “Overhead Squat” assessment to find out if you have muscular imbalance that could lead to injury.

Prevention

All normal injury prevention guidelines must be followed to avoid being inflicted with this debilitating condition.

A sensible approach to training, wearing proper footwear and avoiding any sudden change in training patterns are essential to avoid your running programme being disrupted by lower leg pain and shin splints

Addressing muscular imbalances by using a foam roller, stretching and strengthening weak muscles are also key in prevention this condition and all other forms of shin splint.

Treatment

  • After the area has been treated with the rest and ice, avoid running or any activity that induces pain.
  • Seek treatment from a sports massage therapist and / or physiotherapist.
  • Foam roll and stretch the overactive or short muscles which were flagged up in the “Overhead Squat” assessment.
  • Persevere with treatment and although it might take a week or so, pain will subside and you will be able to resume training.