5 Step guide for helping shin pain

Have you started running more recently and started to develop shin pain? Chances are, you are probably suffering from shin splints! 

Here is our simple 5-step guide that you can work on at home to try and settle your symptoms and get back into running!

What are shin splints?

  • Shin splints are a common over-use injury.
  • They develop when the muscle and bone tissue (periosteum) in the leg become overworked by repetitive activity.
  • Shin splints often occur after sudden changes in physical activity. Changes in frequency, such as increasing the number of days you exercise each week. Changes in duration and intensity, such as running longer distances or on hills, can also cause shin splints. There are a lot of people currenting ticking these boxes with the Covid-19 government restrictions!
  • Other factors that contribute to shin splints include: Flat/pronating feet, ill-fitting footwear and excess weight.

Shin splint symptoms generally involve the following:

  • Sharp/razor-like at the start of activity that warms up. Post activity, symptoms change to a dull ache along the inside or front borders of your shins
  • Tenderness with palpation along the symptomatic area
  • Pain while resting at night is generally not present and if this is the case, may suggest that stress fractures are involved. 


5-step guide to improving your shin pain:

1.Stretching and releasing your lower leg muscles, particularly your calves:

  • Try and include every muscle from your knee down, including; gastrocnemius (top aspect of calf), soleus (lower aspect of calf), tibialis anterior (runs along the front of your shin) and tibialis posterior (runs along the inside of your shin).

2. Foam roller work along the aforementioned muscle groups. Yes, it will be painful but trust us – it will help!

3. Gentle self-massage with use of Anti-Flamme cream – to further decrease inflammation in the region. Useful particularly before getting into bed at night. 

4. Rock taping techniques- Application, tape is anchored without stretch on the outside of the foot.  The tape is then pulled under the arch to the inside ankle bone (medial malleolus) with quite a bit of stretch (70-80%), then ease off the stretch back to 30-40% as the tape is laid along the inside of the shin, with no stretch for the last inch.  A decompression strip can then be applied over the area of most pain, usually a 5-10cm above the inside ankle bone (medial malleolus). This is done with “band aid” technique, using a 10cm length of tape, with the backing paper ripped in the middle, stretched to 80% over the area of pain, with no stretch on either end.  Rub the tape to generate heat and activate the glue. Make sure the tape is applied an hour before running.

5.Supportive footwear/insoles – to help reduce mechanical stress, reduce muscle fatigue, and improve lower leg shock absorption

If your shin splints do not improve with the above steps, be sure to see us at FNQ Podiatry & Orthotics to determine whether something else is contributing to your leg pain.

Our clinical locations all remain open and are contactable on 40 455 749 or online at www.fnqpodiatry.com.au. If you are unable to make it into one of our clinics, we are offering telehealth consultations where we can assess your symptoms and provide further advice