Shin Splints: How to Get Rid of Them

Silhouette woman run under blue sky with clouds

 

How to Get Rid of Shin Splints

By: Dr. Peggy Malone

I have shared lots of information in previous posts about Shin Splints which is a troubling problem, for many athletes.

Today I am sharing much of the information from a previous post on this annoying running injury as I am gearing up for my Black Friday Promotion which will be extremely beneficial to help Shin Splints sufferers to get back to pain free activity. 

If you are not familiar with this painful injury, Shin Splints are essentially an exercise-induced form of lower leg pain common among athletes. The pain is usually around the tibia (the shin bone).

I want to take a few paragraphs today and tell you my Shin Splints story. It’s the whole reason I decided to write my book to help others to try and avoid the pain I went through or to get back to pain-free running if they are suffering with agonizing shin pain.

There’s no nice way to say it: Shin Splints Suck. If you are currently dealing with Shin Splints or if you have ever suffered the pain of every step, I can relate. It was only a few short years ago that I was super frustrated with the problem of Shin Splints both as a health care professional…and as an athlete!

I was training for my first marathon in 2004 and I had constant shin pain that got worse with every long run that screamed at me with every step. I was EXTREMELY frustrated that I couldn’t solve the problem because my education and tools as a health care practitioner should have give me the answers to relieve my pain.

I tried ALL the traditional shin splint treatment solutions…rest, ice, pain medication, stretching. I got only temporary, symptomatic relief from the annoying pain that returned every time I went back to running and especially as I increased my mileage. It took the enjoyment out of my training and it became a catalyst for my professional curiosity.

In my practice, I had many patients with the same Shin Splints pain and the same frustration that I was dealing with. Using the knowledge that I had back then, I could only help them to achieve the same temporary relief that I found for myself but I couldn’t find the long term solution to this painful, annoying problem…

I wish that during my early professional years, and through my own initial struggles with Shin Splints, I had known what I know now about Shin Splints Treatment. I have spent thousands of dollars and an equal number of hours going to seminars, reading books, talking to various experts and learning, learning, learning everything I could about sports and running injuries including repetitive strain injuries like Shin Splints.

Since then, I am happy to say, that I have overcome my own shin pain and have completed many races of varying distances including half and full marathons as well as 2 half Ironman Triathlons and 2 Ironman Triathlons all with no Shin Splint pain.

Many patients in my office have enjoyed the same results and I’m so pleased that I can finally help when people complain of annoying Shin Splints.

My treatment and training now include a multi-faceted approach on how to get rid of Shin Splints including many of the traditional treatments but with a few extras added in.

The biggest thing that I have found that really helps athletes that have resistant Shin Splints or pain in their legs or feet is working on strength and stability through the entire anatomy train from the floor to the core, with a special emphasis on the butt (gluteal musculature).

It’s true….you wouldn’t think so, but your butt is a contributor to why you many have painful Shin Splints.

Another amazing help to this pesky problem is paying attention to and changing up your everyday postures which can contribute to Shin Splints and other running injuries.

My own athletic endeavours along with my education and experience (including my many injuries 🙂 ) have given me valuable insight into working with athletes for both the care of injuries as well as for the improvement of athletic performance.

We are just coming down from a busy time for running athletes as many have just finished participating in Fall Marathons. This is the time of year that I begin to see many athletes in my office with aches and pains associated with running and they are ready to get healthy over the off season..

If you are struggling with Shin Splints or other annoying running injuries, leave me a comment below or find me on Facebook or Twitter.  I’d be happy to help by giving you some tips to get you back on track so that you can get out there and enjoy the feeling of one foot in front of the other with the wind on your face.

There’s nothing like it 🙂

Happy Running

Peggy

 

 

Dr. Peggy Malone is a Chiropractor and an Athlete who helps other athletes to overcome injury and get back to their sport. Her weekly Television Series 'Living Well" inspires people from all walks of life to take control of their health to be as happy and as healthy as they can be.

A former varsity Basketball and Rugby player, she has since entered the world of endurance athletics where she has completed 2 Ironman Triathlons, 3 Marathons, several Half Marathons and many other Triathlons, Road Races and Off-Road Adventure races of varying distances.

Her own athletic endeavors and injuries have given her valuable insight into working with athletes in her practice for both the care of injuries as well as for the improvement of athletic performance.

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22 Comments
  • SnowflakeDay (Audra)
    November 17, 2011

    I'm so glad I caught a tweet with your link in it. I've been dealing with these for a while now and just telling the hubby tonight that I was beyond frustrated. I'm bookmarking you now and can't wait to read your advice. Thanks in advance! 🙂

  • Vancouver Orthotics
    November 25, 2011

    Thanks for sharing! Great information!

    Dr. Michael Horowitz, Vancouver Orthotics

    • Dr Peggy
      November 25, 2011

      Thanks for your comment Dr. Michael! I love to hear from fellow health care providers 🙂

  • Nathan Gooch
    February 9, 2012

    hey, was good to read that other ppl are in the same boat as me… not about the pain but that im not th only one… i finish training and i am in absolute agony when i finish, i try to stretch down, ice, dont like taking pain relief so i just dont.. was hoping there was something i could do to get rid of them completely and not worry about the pain ever again
    thankyou

    • Dr Peggy
      February 10, 2012

      You are definitely not alone! Shin Splints are a common issue. If you do a few simple things, you will be on your way to running pain free before you know it.

  • Carrie
    April 16, 2012

    I run division 1 track and have been struggling with bad shin splints in both shins. Ice makes them feel tighter and more fatigued a lot of the time. Can you recommend any other methods? Also, could you maybe elborate a bit more on your strengthening exercises? Thanks for your help!

    • Dr Peggy
      April 25, 2012

      Hi Carrie,
      In terms of strengthening exercises, check out my post on Gluteal strengthening Exercises. If you do them regularly, your shins will have less strain put through
      them with each step. http://drpeggymalone.com/exercises-strengthen-stabilize-gluteal-musculature
      As for the icing. Try the routine of warm shower or bath, a really good stretch and then ice for 10 minutes only….hopefully that makes the difference that you need.

  • Joye
    May 1, 2012

    I have been dealing with shin splints for about 7 months and know it is because of my growth.I run cross country and hd to stop this year after our first meet due to shin problems.I have done my bands but got so frustrated that I stopped running for two months. I want to get back into running, but need some extra tips on what else would help me.

  • Juan
    July 27, 2012

    Dr Peggy, 
    I have been training in the last 3 months for Bogota's half-marathon (I'm Colombian) and yesterday I went for a 3-mile run and started to feel shin-splints in my left leg. The half-marathon is in two day (next sunday the 29th) and I'm looking for a quick fix. Any ideas? Should I run? It is my first half-marathon and don't want to miss it, what can I do? I'd appreciate any advice. 

    • Dr Peggy
      December 17, 2012

      It’s ok to run as long as you listen to your body and slow down or stop if the pain is too great.
      Before the race, make sure to stretch your calves and use ice to decrease inflammation.
      Adjust your expectations of race day and focus on ‘upright and smiling’ at the finish line instead of a certain time…that way if you have to slow down or walk…you
      will still make your goal! Good luck 🙂

  • Thea Beaudoin RN
    October 3, 2012

    Hi Peggy, 
    I found your site doing some research for a friend who is in a panic.  She is training for her first marathon and started to have pain….she did have x-rays to rule out stress fracture.  Her provider says she has shin splints.  She is 1.5 weeks out ….she wants to be sure she can run on race day so isn't sure what she should run between now and then.  She is supposed to do some 3s, 4s and an 8….any advice??  Thanks so much…great site!!
    ~Thea

  • William Murray
    October 10, 2012

    Hey Peggy, I've only recently got shin splints in the last few weeks! Ive been using a foam roller and putting deep heat on but my shins still hurt! Ive also carried on running even though it does hold me back a lot at the moment, should I stop and rest for a bit? Whats the best thing for me to do to get it to go away asap?
    Thanks

    • Dr Peggy
      December 17, 2012

      Hey William,

      Rest and Ice should be your first line of defence.
      After that, listen to your body. If you can run with minimal pain…off you go but if you are still hurting, you may have to look to what is causing the pain. Check out all of my free articles on Shin Splints to see what may be contributing. http://drpeggymalone.com/category/shin-splints

  • traci
    October 29, 2012

    I don't have a shin split, but my daughter  does. She is trying out for basketball and the pain is killing her. This will so help.

    • Dr Peggy
      December 17, 2012

      I’m glad to help Traci! I hope your daughter is feeling better!

  • Mark
    December 16, 2012

    Hi Peggy

    Do shin splints hurt when standing? By way of background, I started running about 18 months ago but pulled my back (getting out of bed) and have not run since. That said, I do a fair amount of walking. The back incident happened over winter and I did plan to start running again this summer but noticed a pain in my lower shin when walking. On one occassion, my toes were tingling and I had to hobble back to the car. My doctor thought it was a pulled muscle and recommended rest. At that time, the pain occurred when walking and when standing still for a period of time and pain was felt in my left butt and to the outside of my lower left shin. Currently, I only get the pain when standing in one place for a period of time, for example when out with friends and stood at a bar. The pain starts in my butt and jumps to my shin with no pain inbetween and it goes away after a very short walk or sitting down. I would appreciate your advice.
    Many thanks

    • Dr Peggy
      December 17, 2012

      Hi Mark,

      It’s hard to tell exactly what is going on without taking a thorough history and doing an examination, but from what you have described, it sounds like your pain may be originating from the low back rather than the shins.
      I would consult with a body worker (Chiropractor, Physiotherapist, Massage Therapist) that works with athletes to get a better idea of what is going on. You should also be able to get some symptomatic relief.
      If you are still having trouble, you should follow up with your medical doctor.
      Hope this helps!
      Peggy

  • Rebecca Butterworth
    March 6, 2013

    Hi Dr Peggy,
    I am traininig for the London marathon and at the weekend (Sunday) ran 15 miles. After the run my legs were fine, but my calves really started to tighten on Tuesday when I did some speed training. I tried to go running this morning (Wednesday), but had to stop after about a mile due to some serious calf / shin pain. The shin pain has been persistant all day today and i have been icing / stretching.
    I have booked an apt with my physio tomorrow, but am deeply concerned that I won't be able to do my long run this weekend if the pain persists!
    Any advice welcome.
    Rebecca

    • Dr Peggy
      April 8, 2013

      Stretch the calves and the hip flexors like mad and get your body work practitioner to do some work in those areas as well.
      Good luck!

  • Katie
    March 25, 2014

    Hi Dr. Peggy,

    I am registered to run Boston here in a few weeks and have been plagued with shin splints on my inner left leg for 3 and a half weeks. The last long run that I got in was 3 weeks ago (17 miles). I have been pool running as a substitute since then, and it has started to feel better this week. Any advice on how much to train for the next few weeks/ treatment? Would a long run be detrimental at this point? I am planning on trying, since its Boston, after all. Just don’t want to end up with a stress fracture for my college graduation! Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Katie

    • Dr Peggy
      March 26, 2014

      Hi Katie,
      If you are already in Boston and you are injured….my thoughts are don’t hurt yourself further before Boston. You know how to go 26.2 so let your body rest and move it in comfortable ranges and workouts until then. Then on race day, just go easy and enjoy the day. I would also check in with an ART practitioner and get an assessment. Go to http://www.activerelease.com and you’ll find a provider in your area that should be able to give you some symptomatic relief between now and race day.
      Stretch your calves, watch your posture and have a great day at one of the most awesome races in the world!

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