Shin Splints

Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, is a common overuse injury that affects the lower leg. It is a painful condition that occurs when the muscles and tendons surrounding the shinbone (tibia) become inflamed due to repeated stress or impact.

In this blog post, we will discuss what shin splints are, their signs and symptoms, how they can be treated, and relevant scientific references.

What is this condition?

Shin splints are a common injury that affect athletes and runners who engage in activities that require repetitive stress on the lower legs. This can include running, jumping, or any other high-impact activity. The condition is caused by microtears in the muscles and tendons that attach to the tibia.

There are two types of shin splints –

  1. Anterior shin splints: This type of shin splints occurs in the front of the leg, along the tibia. It is caused by stress on the muscles that pull the foot upward.
  2. Posterior shin splints: This type of shin splints occurs in the back of the leg, along the tibia. It is caused by stress on the muscles that control the foot’s inward movement.

Common signs and symptoms

The common signs and symptoms of shin splints include –

  1. Pain along the front or back of the lower leg
  2. Swelling in the affected area
  3. Tenderness or soreness in the affected area
  4. Pain that worsens during activity and improves with rest
  5. Pain that is more intense at the beginning of the activity and then subsides as the activity continues

How can it be treated?

The treatment of shin splints depends on the severity of the injury. The first step in treating shin splints is to rest and avoid the activities that caused the injury. Ice can be applied to the affected area to reduce inflammation and pain. Over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen can also help to reduce pain.

Physiotherapy can also be an effective treatment for shin splints. Exercises that strengthen the muscles of the lower leg can help to prevent future injuries. Stretching and activation exercises can also help to increase flexibility and reduce muscle tension in the affected area.
In severe cases, a physician may recommend immobilisation of the affected area using a cast or brace. Surgery is rarely necessary for the treatment of shin splints.


Shin splints are a common overuse injury that can be managed effectively with rest, ice, physiotherapy, and appropriate medications.

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent the condition from worsening and leading to more severe injuries.

If you experience persistent pain in your lower legs, consult your physiotherapist or healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

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Scientific References

“Shin Splints.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 30 July 2020,
Moen, Maarten H, et al. “Management of medial tibial stress syndrome: a critical review.” Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2009,
Hreljac, Alan. “Etiology, prevention, and early intervention of overuse injuries in runners: a biomechanical perspective.” Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2005,