Shin splints..what did you do this time?

Shin splints are one of the most annoying injuries that can slow down an athlete or weekend warrior. The pain isn’t excruciating, but is bad enough to keep a normal athlete sidelined. Shin splints aren’t an easily treatable condition and are typically associated with long distance running or other endurance sports/activities. So what are the causes of shin splints?

Shin splints are pain in the front part of the leg along the tibia (shin bone). This can be caused by excessive pressure applied to the fascia of the calf muscles which in turn becomes inflamed and pull on the periosteum of the tibia, causing pain. This is one cause, which again is gaining more attention over the past couple of years. This presentation can be in one or both legs.

A stress fracture is another cause of shin splints, which is from too much activity too fast. This is a common cause of all injuries, but shin splints are especially frequent with this scenario. The tibia and fibula can acquire small tears and cracks, which can become stress fractures requiring a longer recovery period.

Muscle imbalances between the anterior and posterior parts of the lower leg can also cause shin splints. The muscle imbalances alter the biomechanics of the leg causing abnormal stresses on the fascia and joints of the ankle and knee. These all can be attributed to shin splints and the altered biomechanics will have to be corrected to stop the pain. Other factors can include improper footwear, over training on hard surfaces (too much stress on the legs), decreased joint motion, lack of warming up, improper stretching (this is being questioned), and other biomechanical issues that should be checked by a professional.

These are the main causes of shin splints and next time we will look at how to avoid these causes and how to treat shin splints.


Circle City Chiropractic
Indianapolis, IN 46250