T Nation

Shin Splints


I think I have shin splints.. I'm pretty sure I had it before, then I didn't do anything for about 4 months and they went away. I started to run like crazy again, and played 4 hours and 30 minutes of football one night with a ton of people, after that I kept running and running cause I was so happy I didn't have pain in my shins/muscle anymore.

Buttt now I've plagued myself again. It HURTS like mad, I don't want to get a stress fracture from it so I must take action as soon as possible and do whatever it takes to heal them. (shins) I looked up on the internet and I'm 90% sure it is shin splints, cause it runs along the bone/muscle, and kills when I run.

Has anyone else had these? If so what'd you do to heal them? I hear to put ice on it for 20 minutes but is ice on the shin bone really good for the bone? ( I always thought having something cold on the joints/bone isnt good) so yeah or maybe is it ice the muscle beside the shin bone for 20 minutes?

Anyways any help I can get regarding this would be MUCH appreciated. I wannnnnna ruuuunnn.



I haven't had them (as far as I know), but from what I've heard/read, the most effective way to avoid them (and to not get them again) is to wear the right shoes when running. Specific running shoes that you can find in any Foot Locker (or, insert Favorite Footwear Retailer) should do.

As for what to do now, ice is almost always a good idea. The "no ice near a joint" would be news to me. Also, toe raises (different from calf raises, think of shifting your weight onto your heel, and raising your toes up and down, like working a gas pedal) are always good for prehab.


The right shoes for your foot is the most important thing to prevent splints. Shin splints are cause when the arch of the foot starts to lower and break down and you become flat footed. When that arch breaks down it elongates the muscles and tendons in your shin which causes the pain.


OK man, this is coming from a former sprinter who used to get shin splints all the time. I was working with this sports doc for awhile and he showed me this trick and i use it all the time on my soldiers. I will warn you though be prepared to feel some of the most intense pain you will EVER feel. MUhahaha
You need two people for this stretch, Have your partner kneel infront of you while you stand and keep your legs straight. Have your partner take his two hands and put the palms of them together so that the fingers are pointing outward (just like if you were to make a V with your palms together). Now take the middle of your V and place it directly on the shin bone. Now start at the top of the shin and depending wether the shin splints are on the inside or the outside of the calf you will turn your hands that way. Your partner should be pushing in on your shin where the bone meets the muscle. Start at the top of the calf and work your way down using 15 second pressure intervals. When your partner gets to where your shin splints are it should almost make you cry it will hurt so F*CKING bad!!! BUT about a week of these stretches and most peoples shin splints are gone! I hope this makes since, just imagine that your partner is tring to seperate the bone and the muscle/tendons when he is applying pressure. I have had ALOT of success doing these stretches on my soldiers! Good luck and let me know how it works for you or if you have any other questions!


Some prevention tips:
~Have good running shoes
~Make sure that when you run you take a FULL stride so that you land on your HEAL and PUSH off with the palm of your foot!!! VERY IMPORTANT This allows your calf muscles to properly stretch with each stride that you take, I deal with this Alot because the same thing applies when you are hauling ass during a road march.
~Make sure you stretch your calves.

~They also make some nice machines for shin splint exercises.
~You can also sit on something high such as a bunk bed and put a mop bucket on your toes, then simply bring your toes up, hold, and go down. This is a simple exercise that also works well to strenthen and stretch the muscles in your calf.


I've done something similar by holding a dumbbell between my two feet, up by the toes. Then lowering the weight fully and retracting it full. Its a great strengthen exercise.


I have had some major shin splints in my athletic career simply due to the nature of my sport. A few things that I found worked very well: Ice and massage the shit out of them, put crushed ice in a plastic bag and wrap it right onto the shin, dont worry about frost bite, the ice will always melt before your skin will freeze. A great way to do both at the same time, simply take a small paper cup fill it with water and freeze it. Now you can use it as a massage tool working it up and down your shins after a workout.

Other tricks that worked, do tons of toe tapping as mentioned and a good pair of supporting shoes that match your stride will make a world of difference for you. Have a specialist do a gate analysis for you to figure that out for you.

Hope that helps.



Thanks a lot guys. This means a lot to me cause shin splints are a BITCH. dastang21 is your method safe? Sounds effective, but is it safe? To all the other posters thanks, I'm already writing down everything that I've been told and getting to work on these shins of mine :slightly_smiling:



I had problems with shin splints when I ran cross country in high school. I ran very little before I joined the cross country team (I joined mainly to make myself run) and it was simply too much volume too quickly.

I would reiterate the things others have said above (ice, proper running shoes, stretching, strengthening exercises for the muscles in the shin), but I would also recommend that you drastically cut back the volume on your running until you get the shin splints under control. I tried to train through them in high school, and ended up with stress fractures in both shins. If the shin splints progress to the point that a specific spot in the shin is painful to the touch, then you probably have a stress fracture.

In the decade since high school I have continued to run, but never more than a couple of times a week. Haven't had any more shin splin problems.


I don't know if this actually works... might be more of an old wives tale but worth a shot. Try walking on the different sections of your foot. For instance try walking on the balls of your feet for a while, then either side, and then on your heels. I'm not saying you have to do miles here just maybe for a few minutes a day and see if it works. Worth a shot anyway.


You can use all the ice in the North Pole and devote every minute of every day to stretching, but your shins will still ache! The only way to get rid of shin splints to bring about some muscle balance in your lower leg. Check out my post on the DARD and kiss your sore shins bye bye......


Just passing on info that I do not know is true. But at one point, I read that drinking Tonic water helps because of the quinine.

Will it, I don't know. I might be helpful, or I might be furthering an lie. Give it a try, it's cheap.

Let me know if it helps.


I went through the icing, taping, etc...anything that my trainer at the time would suggest, and my shin splints lasted until the end of the season. In hindsight (and this would go back 10 years), the stretching, muscle imbalance correcting exercises will be your best bet to rid yourself of the problem. The shin splints will otherwise only go away with rest, but creep back up as soon as you get going again if you do nothing to cure the issue you had to begin with. And that stretch does sound potentially dangerous--just make sure the one helping can control the pressure exerted on your leg well.


Wouldn't you be able to that stretch or self-massage on a foam roller with the same results?


Yes the method is safe, it is pretty painfull but very safe, i alone have done it to over 3o troops and you can INSTANTLY feel the difference. BUt everyone her for the most part has gave you good advice. I would do my stretches and work on strenthening your shin muscles!


I am a former triple-jumper, in my opinion the worst thing you can do if you get shin splints. I had shin splints year-round. Here are my thoughts:

  1. Ice immediately after any running/jumping (ice in a styrofoam cup works great, or when you get home, dunk your lower legs in ice water). You can also look for the flexible ice packs and apply those to your shins. The point is you want to reduce inflammation.

  2. Get orthodics for your everyday life. They will help you recover when not running. Look into getting a pair to wear while playing sports, although not always an option (I couldn't fit a pair in my spikes, I tried, and then I bruised my heel). You can get soft ones. These are not cheap though, mine were $500 I think.

  3. Perform stretching exercises for your shins and calves. Anything that is/feels tight should be more flexible. Lots of massaging when you are watching TV.

  4. On "game" days or any important day when you have to run/jump and can't be bothered by the pain, Advil works great. 2 advils an hour before helped me get through some meets. Although the pain will come once the advil wears out...

  5. Yes, the right pair of shoes is very important. See a sports doctor and have them help identify your problem. You need to know where you are pronating and what kind and how much support you really need. A "Runner's World" running store is a good place to check shoes out. Try many kinds! Really try them and compare.

In the end, there is no "solution", but you can make many smart decisions that keep it under control (like running on grass and not pavement, etc...)

Hope that helps.