Dr. Andrew Arnold talks about shin splints, an overuse injury which may be caused by running on hard surfaces or running on tiptoes.

It is also common in sports where a lot of jumping is involved. If you overpronate or roll inwards, then you are also more susceptible to this injury.

Symptoms of shin splints include:

  • Tenderness over the inside of the shin.
  • Lower leg pain.
  • Sometimes some swelling.
  • Lumps and bumps over the bone.
  • Pain when the toes or foot are bent downwards.
  • Redness over the inside of the shin

What can the athlete do about shin splints?

  • Rest. The sooner you rest the sooner it will heal.
  • Apply ice or cold therapy in the early stages when it is very painful. Cold therapy reduces pain and inflammation. Cold therapy can be applied. More information about cryotherapy or ice application can be seen in shin splints rehabilitation. Click for more detailed information about cold therapy.
  • Wear shock absorbing insoles or Foot Levelers Custom Orthotics as prescribed and fitted at Cranbourne Family Chiropractic.
  • Maintain fitness with other non-weight bearing exercises.
  • Apply heat and use a heat retainer or shin and calf support after the initial acute stage and particularly before training. This can provide support and compression to the lower leg helping to reduce the strain on the muscles. It will also retain the bodies of natural heat. Heat causes blood vessels to dilate and increases the flow of blood to the tissues.
  • Visit a Cranbourne Family Chiropractic for treatment and rehabilitation.

What can a Chiropractor do?

  • Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication e.g. ibuprofen. (Always consult a doctor before taking medication).
  • Tape the ankle for support. – A taping worn all day will allow the shin to rest properly by taking the pressure off the muscle attachments.
  • Analyze running style for overpronation and other biomechanical problems of the foot.
  • Use sports massage techniques on the posterior deep muscle compartment but avoid the inflamed periosteum.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs along with rest and ice can help reduce inflammation, particularly in the early stages. However, if the underlying causes such as tight muscles are not treated through stretching and sports massage techniques then the likelihood of the injury returning is higher.

Similar/related injuries:

  • Posterior Compartment Syndrome
  • Stress fracture
  • Tight calf muscles

More detailed information on treatment and rehabilitation is available to subscribers including the following:

Rehabilitation of Shin Splints

  • Aims of rehabilitation
  • Reducing pain and inflammation
  • Biomechanical dysfunction and corrects over pronation.
  • Improving flexibility for treatment and injury prevention.
  • Returning to full fitness
  • Preventing shin splints

Taping for Shin Splints

  • How to apply tape to the shin to reduce pain and aid recovery.
  • Step by step guide with video clip downloads.


  • Assessing flexibility
  • Calf muscle stretches
  • Front of the leg stretches
  • How long should stretches be held?
  • How often should you stretch?

Sports Massage

  • How can sports massage benefit treatment?
  • Massage techniques
  • Techniques to avoid with sore shins.

Which products can help with the treatment of shin splints?

Some products which can help with treatment and prevention of shin splints are outlined below. Please consult your therapist before using any products as they may not be compatible with your particular therapist’s approach to treatment.

  • Shock absorbing insoles can help reduce the shock and impact transmitted through the foot to the lower leg, particularly when running on hard surfaces for long periods of time.
  • Orthotic insoles are firm insoles designed to correct biomechanical dysfunction such as overpronation. They will usually have strong arch support. Off the shelf orthotic insoles are available and suitable for many, although for the perfect fit our Chiropractors can prescribe and fit a custom orthotics, specifically for your feet.
  • Shin and calf supports can provide compression and support for the lower leg and retain the bodies natural heat.
  • A slant board is a simple but effective device which helps with accurate and progressive stretching of the calf muscles.
  • There is a range of cold therapy products available which make applying ice or cold therapy simple and convenient.
  • Zinc oxide sports tape is excellent for applying a simple taping technique.

About the Author:

Dr. Andrew Arnold is a Chiropractor from Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Ctr.

Category: Chiropractor

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