Shin Splints Causes and Cures


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Shin Splint Help

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  Shin splints represent one member of a group of injuries called "overuse injuries." Shin splints occur most commonly in runners or aggressive walkers.

  A primary culprit causing shin splints is a sudden increase in distance or intensity of a workout schedule. This increase in muscle work can be associated with inflammation of the leg  muscles, those muscles used in lifting the foot (the motion during which the foot pivots toward the tibia).

  The pain associated with PTS occurs on the medial (inside) border of the tibia (shin bone). The pain present when you start exercising becomes less severe as you warm up but becomes worse than ever after you stop exercising. Posterior tibial syndrome often occurs in beginning runners, who are unaccustomed to the activity and running surface, but can occur in seasoned athletes when they change running surfaces, exercise in different shoes, or increase their intensity or duration of exercise.


 Prevention, rather than cure, should always be your first aim. I was very surprised when researching this topic at the number of articles that totally neglected any mention of preventative measures. They all talked of treatment and cure, but only one out of twenty took the time to address the issue of prevention in any detail.

  Even before any sign of shin soreness appears there are a number of simple preventative measures that can be easily implemented.
Since about half of all lower leg problems are caused by biomechanics inefficiencies, it makes sense to get the right advice on footwear. Your feet are the one area you should not "skimp" on. The best advice I can give you concerning footwear, is to go and see a qualified podiatrist for a complete foot-strike, or gait analysis. They will be able to tell you if there are any concerns regarding the way your foot-strike or gait is functioning.

  After your foot-strike has been analyzed, have your podiatrist, or competent sports footwear sales person recommend a number of shoes that suit your requirements. Good quality footwear will go a long way in helping to prevent many lower leg problems.

  Apart from good footwear, what else can you do? I believe the following three preventative measures are not only very effective, but crucial.
Firstly, a thorough and correct warm up will help to prepare the muscles and tendons for any activity to come. Without a proper warm up the muscles and tendons will be tight and stiff. There will be limited blood flow to the lower legs, which will result in a lack of oxygen and nutrients for those muscles.
 The basic treatment for shin splints is no different to most other soft tissue injuries. Immediately following the onset of any shin pain, the R.I.C.E.R. regime should be applied. This involves Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, and Referral to an appropriate professional for an accurate diagnosis. It is critical that the R.I.C.E.R. regime be implemented for at least the first 48 to 72 hours. Doing this will give you the best possible chance of a complete and full recovery.


Documenting your symptom in detail may include the following:

  • Time pattern
    • When did the pain develop?
    • Is it present all of the time?
  • Quality
    • Describe the pain.
    • Is it a sharp pain?
  • Location
    • Are both legs affected?
    • Where exactly on the leg is the pain?
  • Aggravating factors
    • Have you recently begun exercising?
    • Have you recently increased the amount that you exercise?
    • Have you recently changed the type of exercise that you do?
  • Relieving factors
    • What have you done for the pain?
    • How well did it work?
  • Other: What other symptoms are also present?

The physical examination may include an examination of the legs.
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