shin splints?

have pain in front of shins when i start to run, goes off after about ten mins, has been suggested they may be shin splints. what exactly are shin splints? and are there any exercises I can do to improve/prevent them?


  • Hello Louise,

    Check this link out on Shin Spints:

    Just copy and paste into Web address.

  • Hi Louise,

    Shin splints in a generic term for any pain in the shins and as such, isn't a very useful diagnosis for you. It very much depends on where the pain is as to exactly what the problem is. The website Bidders posted is useful and you might find this one helpful too...

    Basically though, it is likely to be caused by one or more of the following.

    1. Old trainers - have they done more than 500 miles or so? If so, get some new ones.

    2. Change in training distances and intensities - have you increased your training distances and/or intensities too quickly? If so, rest the shins for a bit and build your fitness base in smaller increments.

    3. Change in training surface - if you train only on hard surfaces (roads and pavements), you are more likely to suffer from shin splints. Try running on grass, trails or softer surfaces as much as possible.

    Unfortuanately, there aren't really any stretches that you can do that will help the condition much.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.

  • Hi Louise, I agree with the advice that DW gives, but would add that 'Overpronation' is a major cause of shin pain. Many runners overpronate to varying degrees, it is the tendency for the foot to roll inwards as you go from the heel to the toe. The arch tends to flaten out which causes strain on the muscle where it attaches to the front of the shin. Running shoes are designed to suit the different types of runner so if you havn't already done so, I suggest you visit a good running shop preferably one that has a treadmill. Tell them about your pains and they should try you out in a varity of shoes to see which one is best for you.

    Unfortunately the whole issue is a bit of a mine field and it is possible that even the right type of shoe will not be enough and you may need to have your running gait analysed by a specialist. Don't worry about that at this stage though, check out the shoes first.

    Good Luck and let us know how you get on
  • Good point there Mr Jenks. Yes, I should have added that overpronation is another major cause. In actual fact, this was the cause of my shin trouble which has since been rectified with orthotics. As Jenks says though, check your shoes first.

  • Haven't seen those exercises before - interesting, but I'd still say that building up mileages gradually on soft surfaces is the key to avoiding shin problems, along with wearing orthotics if required.
  • Hmm.. I forgot to mention that the physio that I saw as part of my shin splint treatment did suggest doing an excersize pulling back with the toes using an elastic strap which sounds like the weights that EP mentions.(haven't read the RW article)
  • Thanks everyone, cleared a few things up there!I do 90% of my running on pavements or roads, so think that's probably the main problem. Although I am training for the milan marathon (my 1st) in a few wks so have increased my mileage over the last few months. On the trainer side of things, i've just got some new ones, but the problem's been there a few months so maybe my old ones were dying on me!
    will try that exercise and running on softer surfaces and see how i go. thanks again LP
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