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What are shin splints?

Shin splints, formally known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, is a condition characterised by pain at the front of the shin region which is generally worsened by exercise. While many aspects of this condition, including treatment modalities, are well understood, the exact nature of origin is still being investigated. The prevailing theories argue that it is either caused by an accumulation of microscopic bone damage to the tibia (or shin bone), or an inflammatory response of connective tissue that lines the surface of the bone.


Shin splints are a condition arising from overuse. Similarly to tendinopathy conditions, it is often experienced by those undergoing a sudden increase in exercise - usually running. Factors that increase the risk of developing shin splints include high BMI, lack of hip strength and/or range of motion, poor running technique, and previous instances of shin splints.


Most commonly, shin splints present as pain approximately half-way up the lower leg, which is worsened with heavy exercise. A key feature of shin splints is pain persistence, as pain can last for several days following exercise. In many cases of early-stage shin splints, running eases pain.

How My Physio My Health treats this condition

My Physio My Health aims to provide a thorough approach to treatment of shin splints. Following a history and physical assessment, your physiotherapist will aim to address muscular imbalances to allow a more functionally appropriate, and therefore less stressful, exercise pattern. Conditions impacting the shins can extend as far as to the lower back, so your physiotherapist may seek to address points through the foot, knee, hip, or back, through a combination of education, exercise, and hands-on therapy. Your physiotherapist may choose to incorporate therapies such as shockwave or ultrasound therapy to promote optimal healing of the inflamed tissue. There is strong evidence that retraining of running patterns can improve long-term shin splints, and your physiotherapist may choose to incorporate this treatment, particularly if your aim is to return to sport.

If you suspect you may have shin splints or are experiencing similar symptoms, please book with our physio team.

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