Shin Splints

Hi guys.  My shin splint have started coming back (not good at all!).  I changed my footwear a year ago from conventional well padded (heel) trainers, to Vibram five fingers.  These were SO MUCH better for my shins BUT the downside was/is that other parts of my body took the shock - such as ankles and knees etc.  For thsi reason I have been running the last couple of weeks in my 'conventional' trainers, but this had cuased the pain in my shins to come back after over 2 years of no shin issues.

My question is: I wonder if a compromise of the new 'mid strike' trainers may be a good idea? This was I should 'hopefully' not be landing heel first which causes my over pronation to kill my shins, but at the same time there is 'some' good shock absorbtion in these types of trainers, and so hopefully also, the contant tarmac pounding will not kill the rest of my joints in the process.

Have any of you tried these types of trainers, and if so - what are your recommendaions on these?


Thanks so much in advance image


  • Hi malakite,

    You ought to get a proper gait analysis, at the same time you can try out some mid strike trainers on a treadmill and see if this brings on your shin splits. How long after running do you get pains in your shins?

    Not sure what kind of surfaces you are running on, but hard or uneven surfaces will not help.

    Other than that have you considered looking at your running style - the pose method is very popular and could help,
  • I run on the road (instead of path) as the asphalt is softer but I realise roads are still dead hard. I'm thinking of paying to use an athletics track but of course I cannot do that indefinitely it will be sooooo boring!

    I had a video anyalysis done ages ago and it was diagnosed that I over pronate and they recommended a more stable trainer (Brooks). I then went to a podiatrist who said I have one leg shorter that the other (apparently quite common) and the use of orthotics should work. I have since tried the standard of the shelf inserts but they didn't really work.

    The shin pain comes on when running so I stop before it gets worse. Then it hurts a lot for a couple of days - then within a week I can run again.

    Strange thing is - I can go MONTHS with no major issues, run a pretty fast Half Marathon, then out of nowhere BANG on come the shin splints. It's so frustrating its not funny. I do stretches, use the foam roller, ice after runs if a little tender etc etc - I'm at my wits end!!
  • I agree you need to look at your gait/ running style.  Try mid-foot striking, then 'hinging-off' behind your big toe.  Try shortening you stride so your lead foot lands just out in front of you and 'hinges off' underneath you.   Make sure your hips are flexible and your hip flexors are not tight.  Lack of hip extension will make you more inclined to heel strike and push off in front of you.    Which will create more shock through shins and knees.  Same goes for quads and hamstrings.  

    Because you're back in trainers are you heel striking more??  This will definealty push more impact force into your shins. 

    In my opinon orthotics are from the same school as plaster casts ('pots' up-north) and compulsory bed rest.   Nowadays the medical profession minimise the use of both and i believe it should be the same with orthotics. 

    Feet are supposed to pronate - this is natures way of shock absorbtion.  Stability trainers will change certain movements that your feet (and shins) had become used to in the Vibrams and caused the shin pain.

    My guess is lack of driven internal rotation of tibia from the subtalar joint at foot strike (in stability trainers) has created a torsion effect because of top-down internal rotation from your femur.  Your shins have flared up because of your history of 'shin-splints' and they are the weak-link in the chain.  But i can argue that with a podiatrist!?!

    I would get your ankle joint mobilised and your calf/ thigh / hip muscles stretched and deep tissue massaged.   Tweak your running style and prob go back to Vibrams if thats what you're happier in!

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