Shin splints can be a frustrating injury for runners, but here are some things research has told us about shin splints. 

What are shin splints?

Shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome) are an overuse injury to the tibia and its surrounding structures (i.e. connective tissue, muscles, etc.) due to repetitive stress, which causes an abnormal strain to the region. 

What can be done to help shin splints?

In the acute phase (first 4 days) of the injury, rest helps in order to reduce pain. Once the acute phase passes, running on softer surfaces (with less hills) can be helpful. It can also be helpful to strengthen the calf complex, as well as the hips and core. 

Take home:

Rest is helpful in the first couple of days of shin splints, but after the pain has subsided it is beneficial to progressively load the calf complex as well as hips and core. 

Calf work:

Heel raise

Bent knee heel raise

Posterior tibials activation 


Hip band series

Hip side plank circuit

Single leg Palloff Press

For more information check out: 

Galbraith RM, Lavallee ME. Medial tibial stress syndrome: conservative treatment options. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2009;2(3):127-133. Published 2009 Oct 7. doi:10.1007/s12178-009-9055-6

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