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shin splints - Strength & Conditioning Gym Brisbane - Group Fitness Classes & Personal Training - ATHLETIX

Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), are a common complaint among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned runner, a dedicated dancer, or someone who enjoys regular workouts, understanding shin splints can help you navigate your training journey more effectively. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fundamentals of shin splints, drawing insights from recent research to provide practical tips for prevention and management.

What are Shin Splints?

Shin splints refer to the pain experienced along the inner edge of the shinbone (tibia) during physical activity. This discomfort arises from repetitive stress and microtrauma to the muscles, tendons, and periosteum surrounding the tibia. While shin splints are often associated with activities like running, they can also occur with sudden increases in training intensity, improper biomechanics, or inadequate footwear.

Shin Splints Risk Factors

Several factors increase the risk of developing shin splints. These include:

  • Sudden changes in training volume or intensity
  • Biomechanical abnormalities such as overpronation or flat feet
  • Muscle imbalances and weakness in the lower limbs
  • Poor flexibility or inadequate warm-up routines
  • Inappropriate footwear or worn-out shoes

Recognizing the Symptoms

The hallmark symptom of shin splints is pain along the medial aspect of the shinbone, typically occurring during or after physical activity. This pain may start as a dull ache and progress to a sharp, stabbing sensation.

Other symptoms include tenderness, swelling, and discomfort when touching the affected area.

Prevention Strategies

Preventing shin splints begins with addressing modifiable risk factors and adopting healthy training practices. Here are some tips to reduce your risk of developing shin splints:

  • Gradually increase training intensity and duration to allow for adaptation.
  • Incorporate strength and flexibility exercises targeting the lower limbs, especially the calf muscles and intrinsic foot muscles.
  • Ensure proper footwear with adequate support and cushioning, replacing worn-out shoes regularly.
  • Warm up adequately before engaging in vigorous physical activity and cool down afterward to promote muscle recovery.
  • Listen to your body and avoid pushing through pain; rest and recovery are essential parts of the training process.

Management Strategies

If you’re experiencing symptoms of shin splints, it’s crucial to address them promptly to prevent worsening and potential complications.

Here are some management strategies to consider:

  • Rest and modify your training routine to reduce stress on the affected area.
  • Apply ice packs to alleviate pain and inflammation, especially after activity.
  • Consider cross-training activities that minimize impact on the lower limbs, such as swimming or cycling.
  • Gradually reintroduce activity once symptoms subside, focusing on proper technique and biomechanics.
  • Consult a healthcare professional for a comprehensive assessment and personalized treatment plan, which may include physical therapy, orthotics, or other interventions.


By understanding the causes, symptoms, and management strategies of shin splints, you can take proactive steps to protect your lower limbs and optimize your training experience. Remember, prevention is key, but early recognition and appropriate management are equally important for long-term athletic success. If you’re experiencing persistent or worsening symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance to address underlying issues and get back on track safely.

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