Shin Splints Treatment For Runners

woman trail runner hold her sports injured legs at the top of mountain

If you are a runner who experiences lower leg pain or aching in your legs that worsen after a run, you must be having shin splints.

It is among the most common injuries that runners have to face. Shin splints happen due to inflexible or tired calf muscles, which put extensive stress on tendons. As a result, they get torn or strained.

From this article, we will help you to learn more about shin splints and figure out the best shin splints treatment for runners.

What exactly are shin splints?

Shin splints pic

You can call shin splints or tibial stress syndrome an overuse injury. It happens due to small tears that take place in the lower leg muscles. That’s the main reason why shin splints and stress fractures are quite common among runners. However, lack of cushioning in shoes and worn-out shoes can also lead people to get shin splints.

If you are a beginner at running, there is a high possibility for you to end up with shin splints. That’s because you will be putting too much stress on your leg muscle and shin bone, which they are not used to getting. Even runners who are returning back to running after an injury may end up getting shin splints.

Shin splints would make you feel a nagging pain in your calf muscle or leg muscle. This pain would be concentrated towards the front of the leg. You will often get this pain after physical activity.

What is the best shin splints treatment for runners?

Stretches are the best treatment available for anyone who is struggling with shin splints. When you stretch before a run, you will be able to reduce the risk of getting shin splints significantly.

That’s because stretching will strengthen the muscles and tendons located in the front of your leg. It is better if you can stretch with the help of an exercise band to end up getting the best results.

Make sure that you tie one end of your exercise band to a heavy object and stretch so that you can effectively strengthen the muscles. While engaging with stretches, you will need to move the foot up and down. Then you can provide a workout to all the related muscle groups.

If you can make it a habit to engage with stretches before running, you will be able to reduce the overall risk of getting shin splints. However, you may also engage with stretches without using an exercise band.

If you don’t have an exercise band, you may start off with heel raises. This is where you should stand with both feet while hanging off your heels. Then you will need to lower the heels and raise up the toes. This should be repeated with 20 reps up to three sets. You should do it in the morning and evening to get the best results.

You may also try calf stretches along with bend and straight knee. They are two different stretches, which will provide workouts to the soleus and gastrocnemius respectively. You will need to hold each stretch for a period of up to 60 seconds. To get the best results, you should repeat these four times a day. If you can be consistent with stretches, you can stay away from shin splints pain for a longer

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the reasons behind shin splint pain?

Numerous reasons are there behind shin splint pain. Let’s deep dive and explore what they are all about. You should go ahead with the treatments only after having a clear idea about the root cause behind the pain. Then you can make sure that you don’t become a victim of shin splints again in the future.

  • Muscle strain

If your muscles are too weak or they don’t receive arch support, you will end up straining them. For example, if you increase the distance that you run, there is a high possibility to strain the muscle. That’s where the muscle and bone tissue will start to break down.

  • Stress fractures

When your muscles get fatigued, they will not be in a position to absorb the shock that originates from running. Due to the same reason, shock and workload will be transferred into the bone tissue. This may result in a crack within the bone tissue. That’s where you will end up getting shin splints.

  • Tibial stress syndrome

Tibial stress syndrome happens due to excessive stress on the bone. It will make you end up getting an injury within the bone tissue. 


What are other tips to prevent shin splints?

Apart from stretches, there are a few other tips that you can follow to prevent shin splints. For example, you may think about changing the shoes that you use for running.

Before you buy a new pair of shoes, you will need to get the gait analyzed. Then you can go ahead and purchase a pair of shoes that limit pronation. Or else, you can buy shoes that provide extra arch support.

If you can do a search on the best Nike running shoes for shin splints on the internet, you will come across some of the best options available out there to consider. By investing in the right pair of shoes, you can easily stay away from getting shin splints.

You should also change your running form to prevent shin splints from taking place. For example, you should train your core and ships. When you strengthen these areas, you will be able to transform into a stronger runner.

You will also need to shorten the running stride. It is important to do this when you are increasing the foot strike cadence. This will reduce the amount of load that you put on your feet, knees, and shins.

You can count the foot strikes you have on each side for one minute. It is better if you can reduce that and keep it between 80 and 90 per minute.

Your nutrition can also provide a helping hand to you with staying away from shin splints. This is where you should increase your intake of Vitamin D and calcium. You should take at least 400 micrograms of Vit D and 1,300 milligrams of calcium on a daily basis. Yogurt and milk are some of the best foods that can cater to your nutritional requirements.


Is it okay to run when you have shin splints?

You should not go for outdoor runs when you have shin splints. That’s because outdoor running can make things worse. This is where you should think about running on a treadmill. You will need to make sure that you set the incline to 5 on your treadmill.

Then you can make sure that your forefoot would travel less when compared to the floor. As a result, your leg muscles will be doing less work.

You should also shorten the duration of your runs. Limit your runs to five minutes. Then you can do a bit of stretch. You can continue small runs up to five times. In case you get any pain, it is a good idea to stop running. Then you can do some more stretches.


What are the symptoms of shin splints?

The common symptoms of shin splints include tenderness, throbbing, or aching along your shin. However, this feeling can radiate to the outside of your shin as well.

It happens all along the shin or halfway down it, from the knee to the ankle. The discomfort you experience due to shin splints happens mainly because of inflammation of tendons, which are located inside the front part of your lower leg. You will experience more pain in case if you press on the inflamed area.

The pain associated with shin splints will get intense when you start to run. However, it will reduce or go away when the muscles loosen up. This symptom is one of the most effective methods available to decide whether you are having shin splints or any other health condition.


Now you have a clear idea of what shin splints are all about. If you are a runner or if you just started running, shin splints can make your life worse.

This is why you should get to know about the best treatment for shin splints and adhere to them. In the meantime, it is a good thing to figure out the root cause of why you experience shin splints and then treat it accordingly.

If you want to continue running, you should try to strengthen your core and hips. In the meantime, you may also shorten the running stride. Then you will be able to make sure that you don’t have to deal with the negative effects that come along with shin splints.


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