At Sydney CBD, we have a special interest in the diagnosis and treatment of foot and lower leg problems.

Shin Pain

Shin Pain / Shin Splints / Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome

Shin splints is a common sports injury which is characterised by pain on the lower two-thirds of the posterior-medialtibial border, i.e. the inner edge of the leg bone. The pain is non-focal and extends >5cm, usually in both legs. Pain may be present at the beginning of exercise, disappear (or worsen) during and then return as the body cools down and may last several hours after.

Causes of shin splints include:
  • Over-pronation or rigid high arches
  • Overuse, too much too soon (i.e. training load error)
  • Running or jumping on hard and uneven surfaces
  • Muscle strength and/or imbalances
  • Tight muscles
  • Leg length difference
  • Inappropriate footwear
There are three structures which are affected by shin splints, this includes:

  1. Muscle – the tibialis posterior muscle runs along the inner border of the tibia (leg bone) and is an important muscle for controlling pronation (rolling-in) and supination (rolling-out) of the subtalar joint during gait and running. The muscle may be excessively loaded, leading to shin splints.
  2. Periosteum – is the outer layer of bone, which the tendon of a muscle attaches too. When the tendon is excessively loaded the periosteum becomes inflamed.
  3. Bone – the leg bone (i.e. tibia) undergoes stress reactions, which may lead to stress fractures in serious cases.

Treatment – what you can do
  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compress
  • Modify activity – reduce training load after sufficient rest or cycle instead of run.
What our Podiatrists at Sydney Sports Podiatry will do:
  • Determine the cause of shin splints through a detailed biomechanical assessment
  • Foot taping to offload
  • Strengthening regimen
  • Stretching
  • Dry needling and massage
  • Shockwave therapy
  • Custom orthotics
  • Recommendation and assessment of appropriate footwear