T Nation

Dealing with Shin Splints?


So the local school doc just diagnosed my lower leg pain as shin splints. Makes more than a certain amount of sense, although the information papers she gave me (including "rehab" exercises that didn't work when they were for fixing a nastily tweaked ankle...) aren't telling me shit about what I should do.

Me: I've done Tang Soo Do for 16+ years, and recently started taking an MMA class at the school I've been training at while at school (it's still TSD, but a completely different organization so I mainly use it to learn new things and stay in shape which is why I jumped at the MMA class they were offering). I'm not interested in competing, and never have been.

I'm interested in continuing to train and getting myself in better shape. As far as lifting goes, I've recently started Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 program, lifting on the 4 days a week when I'm not doing an MMA class.

The MMA class is pretty basic... 15 minutes of cardio (usually jumping rope for 5-ish minutes, then kicks/knees/shrimps up and down the floor for another 5-10 mins) and then 45 minutes of either striking, ground stuff, or a mix.

My question for anybody who's dealt with shin splints before (or any other similar stress fracture-type of injury), is what kind of things should I really avoid doing and what can I do in place of those things? The doc said I should basically stop most things that would involve using my legs, including lengthy walking, but really... fuck that shit. I'd like to continue what training I (safely) can, and certainly don't want to stop lifting if I don't have to.


It’s an overuse injury. Take some time off from the running/skipping and switch to bike for cardio. Ice/heat and massage works well for me. I’ve never had an issue with lifting causing pain in that area so I don’t know why you couldn’t continue with that.


I had some really nasty shin splints when I was on active duty. I would get them and the corpsman would tell me to take two weeks off from running, marching in formation, and ruck marches. Two weeks later it would be time to do a 75 minute formation run up and down hills and I would get them again. When I got off active duty I didn’t run for two months and I healed up. In my experience shin splints/stress fractures are an overuse injury. Toe/Heel Raises are a good to help prevent them in my experience. What you really need is time off, some ice and heat and to just use a bike or rower for awhile.

  1. Reduce your activity.
  2. Stretch your lower legs every day.
  3. Ice baths for your lower legs (7-8 minutes).

It is not something you push through, but I wouldn’t stop activity unless it that particular one hurts.


You, like me, could have flat feet, or possibly even high arches!
I used to get shin splints all the time, then I got my orthotics and I’ve had them maybe once since (due to overuse). Head to a physio/podiatrist, it could significantly improve your physical life, like it did mine (I started getting into MA after my constant shin splints went away).


I’ve suffered from fairly extreme shin splints -led to a fibular stress fracture which took 6 weeks in a walking boot to heal. Basically, just take time off and ice right after any activity. As far as preventing tit from ever happenining, invest in some QUALITY running shoes/ athletic shoes. This was huge in helping me. Also, losing weight can help.


Time off. Ice. Go to a running shoe store and have them look at your gate and get you some quality shoes. Get some inserts/orthotics if it is a diagnosed arch issue.