If you are a power walker, have started a new exercise routine or are an experienced runner you may get shin splints at one time or another.  Shin splints or tibial stress syndrome refers to pain in the front or inner part of the lower leg. This is common in running sports such as basketball, tennis, soccer, and gymnastics and can occur at all ages. Also at risk are jumpers, dancers, military personnel. They’re the cause of 13-20% of all running injuries.  Shin splints aren’t really a single medical ailment. They are actually a symptom of an underlying problem which may be caused by:

  • Irritated and swollen muscles.
  • Stress fractures, which are tiny, hairline breaks in the bones
  • Over-pronation or ”flat feet”

Shin splint pain usually develops gradually without a history of trauma, and can begin as a dull ache along the front or inside of the shin (Tibia) after running or even walking. You may notice small bumps and tenderness along shin bone.


To prevent shin splints, you should:

  • Regularly stretch and strengthen the leg muscles.
  • Check if your running shoes are old or worn down and not properly absorbing shock.
  • Avoid running on hard surfaces, be cautious with downhill running (your foot impacts the ground in a plantar-flexed position (toes pointed down) putting stress on the muscles on the front of your shin.
  • Wear insoles or orthotics that offers arch support for over-pronation.
    • Don’t violate the 10 percent rule (do not increase training routines by more than 10 percent a week)

For immediate relief:

  • Rest (avoid activities that cause pain; cross-train with low impact activities such as pool training, bicycling or elliptical machine training)
  • Take an over –the-counter anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen


  • Compression (with an elastic wrap or wear a compression sleeve)
  • Incorporate  a stretching and strengthening program into your workout routine
  • Use a foam roller to break up muscle adhesion’s and increase blood flow to your leg muscles.

If pain persists your podiatrist may order x-rays, a bone scan or an MRI to check for a stress fracture.

Whether you are walking for fun or training for your first 5K, don’t let shin splints sideline you.

Dr. Olga Garcia Luepschen and the Gentle Foot Care Center are located on US 27 and can be reached at 314-9255 or


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