Shin Splints From Running

Shin splints are an over-use injury and are often called "too much, too soon". Shin splints are pain in front of the lower leg and are caused from overworked anterior muscles or because the calf muscles are tight and are pulling the muscles in the front of the leg. Dr. Weisenfeld, in his book The Runner's Repair Manual, explains that the front muscles are weaker than the posterior muscles and are more sensitive to stress. He explains that the front muscles aren't exercised as much by running and extra exercises are needed to strengthen them.

Weisenfeld further explains that when we run on hard surfaces and/or have shoes with insufficient padding, the front muscles may tighten up with each step to brace against the jolt and to keep the shock from spreading throughout the leg, hip, and spine. The muscles are thus overworking with every step. In addition, the front muscles may tighten up to provide additional stability to the foot. Also, over striding may cause shin splints.

The following stretches are recommended by Weisenfeld for shin splints (he has pictures to illustrate them). The stretches are illustrated in my stretching pictures page.

  • Foot press
  • Inner and outer thighs
  • Leg lift
  • Wall pushups
  • Furniture lift
  • Leg lifts

Here is a nice article on shin splints. Here is another article.

The information on this site is for informational purposes only; it does not constitute medical or physical therapy advice. For medical advice, consult a physician. For physical therapy advice, consult a physical therapist.


shin-splints said...

I've been suffering from shin plaints for nearly 3 years now and nothing I do seems to work :-( I set up a site to try and share what I have tried so hopefully it will work out for someone.

Allen said...

Shin splints are an overuse injury, meaning you've been going too far or too fast or both than your body can handle. Try reducing your distance by 50%. Be sure you use heavy/light in your scheduling, and don't make increases in distance or speed by more than 10% per week. Less if need be. Don't overstride. Aim for a stride rate of 180 steps per minute. This will force you to take smaller steps and to land on mid-foot instead of on your heel. One way to strengthen your shin muscles is to do the furniture lift (see my page of pictures of stretches, link in the right side bar). (I haven't read your site in detail, so maybe you're already doing these things).

Omni said...

I finally traced my shin splints to CAFFEINE. For me, any amount within about 4 hours of a run risks bringing them on.

dukeschannel said...

You should really look into a golf ball muscle roller it really helped to reduced the pain and swelling that i could never get rid of in my legs

Allen Leigh said...

Thanks, dukeschannel, for your comment and suggestion.

I've never used rollers, because I've never had pain in my legs. A lot of runners, though, do use rollers, and they report a lot of success with them. I still use static stretches, because they've worked for me for 40 years. However, modern sports doctors recommend dynamic stretches, and rollers are a form of dynamic stretching.