T Nation

Dealing With Chronic Shin Splints


Anybody here successfully dealt with chronic shin splints? I used to do a lot of running in high school, and when I first got serious with lifting, I'd do wind sprints after weight training. Somewhere along the line my lower legs just quit on me, and I haven't ran further than a quarter mile in years ..... there's just too much pain.

I'm getting the condition checked out medically, but its kind of a slow process. Mainly I think its because the military is doing it. Anyway, we're trying to rule out stress fractures (which I've had in the past) as well as Compartment Syndrome. My personal feeling is that the source of the problem is mechanical in nature and that strengthening and stabilizion work on the whole leg might really help me out. I guess I could even attribute poor posture to it as well, so there's another area to tackle.

In the mean time, while the strengthening continues and while the docs are slowly ruling stuff out, any recommendations on other stuff to do? Most PT's seem to have their own ideas (that don't always work) about fixing shin splints. But I'd like to hear about a strength trainier's personal experience here ... as long as there is one.

Anything would help. Thanx.





I had it bad, don't think I could call it chronic, that to me means long term hospitalisation.

But fully agree with BodynDragnet, thats all sorry


Rest is the only answer that I know of. Other than wrapping the hell out of them and bearing it.


I have no idea if I'm correct here but I used to get them too. Building up my ant. tib. seems to have helped?!


Thanks for the responses, guys. Rest is something I do a lot of. You see, when I say that I run .25 miles, I mean I do that once every two weeks, when it comes time to test how well they hold up. Sometimes I just go a few months without running, but once I start, here comes the pain.

AG1, you said building up your Tibialis Anterior helped you? What exercises did you use. Currently the only thing I know of is Dumbbell Dorsiflexion, and I have this in my program. Do you know of anything else that helps to strengthen them?


I use to get them really bad running when I was in the infantry. The long route marches in combat boots where just torture, untill I could stretch out my stride they would kill. During runs it would be so bad my feet would flop like I was wearing flippers. Do a search, I found a lot of stuff that helps and would have saved me a lot of pain years ago. The one strenghtening exercise has you sitting on a bench, feet hanging over the edge with a DB between your feet. You do raises with your feet to build the anterior.

Also some helpfull stretches, kneeling on lower legs, stretching the toes back. A standing one where you stretch the toes under works great. ASA prior to long runs will help with the inflammation.


Get a good pair of running shoes. This helped me a ton. Went from "ouch I can't run" to "hey my shins don't hurt".

Other things that helped:

  • Warm up before, I would trace the alphabet with my feet before I ran to loosen them up.

  • When done running I would take an ice cube to each shin and rub it lengthwise for an 'ice massage'.

  • Kneel down and 'sit' on your calves with your toes pointed back. This helps stretch them out too.

That's all I can think of right now. Good luck!


Rest is not the issue- your shins are weak. Build a DARD- http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=680677


In-Soles and ART cured mine for good.


What is ART? Lol ... why do I think I'm gonna get some smart-ass remarks for asking this?

BTW, Hog Ear, nice link. The DARD machine looks awesome. Still trying to decide if building my own is actually better than just shelling out some dough for a commercial one.


also might want to get some better quality running shoes, in most cases you get what you pay for.


Reverse toe raises fixed mine in about a weak, build that muscle. get a 2x4 and put your heals the edge and raise your toes up. ... worked for me simple cheap solution (or u could do it on some stairs?)


I've had medial tibial stress syndrome (aka medial or posteromedial shin splints) for eight months. I have not run a step since November, and six months later they are no better than the day I stopped running. THEY WON'T FUCKING HEAL! Physical therapy, custom orthotics and drugs are are worthless. Doctor made it worse- much worse- by casting me for six weeks. It now hurts to walk, and ANY weightbearing activty aggrovates the injury, even non-inpact ones like cycling and the elliptical machine.

I don't have any advice for you. I'd just giving you some insight as to what you may be in for.


By the way, I don't recommend that you go to a doctor or physical therapist for complex mechanical injuries. They are all truly incompetant when it comes to dealing with conditions like this. At best they will just amuse you while your body heals itself.


Everyone will react differently.

In my case, I have had them since October. I just recently took 2 weeks off from any physical activity. At one point I thought I had stress fractures it was soooo bad. Anyway, after the two weeks I played basketball and didn't have any problems at all. Now it's time to start back slowly.

You may have to take time off of your lower legs. In my case I even had to stop squatting because when I would squat deep I would feel a lot of pressure on my injury.

Seriously, take some time off. Then start slow and strengthen all the muscles in your lower leg and ankle area.

I can't wait to get back on the track myself!


Insoles and stretching and warming up the area worked great for me. Im also paying more attention to my running technique.


Can you explain what you're changing about your technique? One of the things
I have started to do is to correct my overall posture throughout the day. After reading 'Neanderthal No More', I found that I was habitually shifting my body weight forward instead of letting it rest evenly distributed on my feet.

What precisely is considered good running technique/posture? I've always tended to lean forward, but this might be a result of overall poor posture.

I had stress fractures identified using a radio-isotope bone scan six years ago. I think they've resolved since then, but the area is still painful. As far as the insoles and what not, I've tried it all ... insoles, awesome shoes, custom orthotics, etc. The only thing I haven't done is concentrated strength training exercises that target the Tibialis Anterior. That's what I'm doing now, as well as posture correction. We'll see how that works.


"Duck walks" worked for me... back when I was silly enough to run long distance. hehe.

""After a moment's rest, pretend the stove is now red hot and jump quickly, making the contact between your feet and the ground as brief as possible. Complete about 40 super fast jumps in about 8 to 12 seconds, just barely getting your feet off the ground and avoiding heel contact. After 30 seconds rest, complete this "hop and lightning hop" routine once more, and further strengthen your calves by walking quickly forward on your toes for 20 metres. Then point your feet outward at about a 45-degree angle ("duck walking") and stride along on your toes for 20 more metres. Finally, angle your toes inward ("pigeon toed" walking) and walk on your toes for a further 20 metres. For these maneuvers, always make sure your hips are rotated outward or inward so your knees are lined up with the spaces between the big and second toes.""




I had horrible shin splints when I still had a sucky posture. As you said, it's all simple mechanics. If you have poor posture, you're probably leaning way too much forward, which is far from optimal when running. My problem was that I was almost landing on my toes and it put HUGE stress on my tibia and caused pain for weeks. Now that I've "fixed" my posture, the centre of mass has shifted back and the forces caused by running is more balanced between different muscles. My PT also prescribed some stretches to correct imbalances in my feet and tibia, but this might not be relevant in your case.

Still, correcting bad posture should ALWAYS be the first thing to do when battling imbalances and "mechanical problems". More often than not, your problems will vanish with your sucky posture. Believe me I know, bad posture can have some SERIOUS effects on your body. And EVEN IF for some reason it wouldn't help in your case, correcting bad posture is still always beneficial. Read Eric and Mike's 5-part article "Neanderthal No More" for more information.

Hope this helps.