Causes of shin splints: Types, Preventions, And Treatment

Have you ever experienced a dull ache inside your shins while playing or running? This dull pain in your shin bone is shin splints.

Shin splints are usually not severe and can quickly go away with treatment at home and rest from physical activities, but they can prolong if left untreated. 

It is a common problem in athletes, but non-athletes can also experience it. If you know the causes of shin splints, you can easily avoid them. We have described some of the common causes of shin splints in this article. 

Types of shin splints


Before jumping to the causes of shin splints, let’s discuss the types. There are multiple types of shin splints, In this article, the two main types will be discussed:

1:Medial tibial stress syndrome:

This is the main type of shin splint. Medial tibial stress syndrome is considered inflammation in the muscles and bone tissues. It causes pain in the lower shin bone. It mainly occurs because of the strain on the muscles. When you run, it becomes worse, but after taking some rest, the pain goes away. Treat medial tibial stress syndrome with home remedies, but if left unattended, it can worsen. 

2:Stress Fracture:

A stress fracture is a crack in the bone, causing pain in a specific place of the shin bone. The stress fracture is due to muscle pulling. When you do any exercise or other activity, this pain is worse. Stress fracture takes time to heal.

Causes of Shin Splints

Shin splints are common among those who have high-impact activities. When you do continuous physical exertion but do not rest, you are likely to get tibia stress syndrome. That is why we feel that you should be aware of the causes to avoid and prevent this problem.

Starting a new sport or training:

You are more likely to have shin splints when you start a new sport or training. The strain on the muscles causes shin splints, and if you do exercise or train rigorously, you can hurt your muscles, joints, and shinbone because your tissues are not used to such challenging activity and can quickly get hurt.

Unsupportive shoes

You are more likely to have shin splints when you start a new sport or training. The strain on the muscles causes shin splints, and if you do exercise or train rigorously, you can hurt your muscles, joints, and shinbone because your tissues are not used to such challenging activity and can quickly get hurt. 

Unsupportive shoes

The primary cause of shin splints is wearing unsupportive and wrong shoes. If you wear shoes that do not offer good support and do not have proper cushioning, there are more chances that you can have this injury. Suitable shoes are essential for everyone, but it becomes more vital for runners to have shoes that have good support to avoid damage.

The hard surfaces

Another reason is running or playing on rugged and rough surfaces. Hard surfaces are not suitable and can cause severe problems such as stress fracture, which can take longer than usual to improve. 

Running on hilly areas.

Avoid running in hilly areas because your legs and feet readjust very frequently in such places, resulting in shin splints. To avoid extra pressure on your legs and feet, always run on flat and smooth surfaces. 

Preexisting problems

You are at a higher risk of getting shin splints if you have preexisting ankle and feet problems. These problems include flat feet, arches, and hyper-pronation. If you have any such situation, you should be very careful and take extra precautionary measures. 

Poor running condition

Another reason for shin splints has poor or bad running form. If you feel that your condition is not suitable, you should take training from an expert but do not run in poor form because you might end up hurting yourself.

Tight calf muscles

When you have tight calf muscles, they put extra pressure on your shins. That results in the injury.

Repetitive Activities

When you have activities, and you repeat them repeatedly, that causes pressure and stress in the shinbone and muscles. That is why avoid repeated activities. 

Military training

Military pieces of training are very hard. You are more prone to injuries, including shin splints in military training. If you are doing military training, you should be very careful and take care of yourself to avoid damage. 

Other risk factors

We know that high-impact activities cause stress on muscles and shin bones which results in shin splints. Some other factors increase the risk of shin splints. These factors are

  • When you lack fitness and also smoke means you are at higher risk.
  • Be aware, do not increase the intensity of your workout or exercise, you can easily get injured. That is why it is recommended to hold on and increase the strength of activity slowly and gradually. 
  • Weak ankles are also another reason. 
  • You have flat feet and high arches.

How to Prevent Shin Splints?

Now that you have learned about the causes of a shin splint. You have to also know how to avoid and get out of injuries.

Check your movements

you should analyze your running. Record a video of your running technique. This will make you and enable you to see whether the activity you are performing is correct or not. Once you identify any problem in the movement you will have the chance to change your technique. Sometimes slight changes can make big differences and decrease the chances of risks and errors. 

You will be able to watch if your activities are correct or not. Marly if you identify any fault or conclusion in your movement, you can alter your running technique. Sometimes a slight change can make a big difference and decrease the risk.

Do not overdo

When you do running and other high-impact activities for too long and with high intensity, you can overload your shins. Never overdo and keep things in balance.

Right shoes

As you already know, the right shoes are crucial to avoid shin splints. Especially for runners, the right shoes are even more critical. 

Strength training

Add strength training to your routine exercises. This training strengthens your legs, ankles, and hips. When you do strength training, you help your body deal with high-impact activities. 


If you somehow get shin splints, you should immediately treat this problem because if it’s left untreated, it can get worse with time.

Nonsurgical treatment

When the pain is not severe, nonsurgical treatments can be helpful. Nonsurgical treatment includes 

  • When you have shin splints, the first thing you should do is rest. Because shin splints are caused by overdoing, that is why rest is the first thing to do. It would help if you took weeks of rest from the activities that caused pain. Meanwhile, you can do other activities that have a low impact on your health exercises such as swimming.
  • You can also take medicines prescribed by the doctor.
  • Icing is also a very effective method for treating shin splints at home. Using ice packs on the affected area for 20 minutes several times a day can help you in getting relief from the pain. 
  • You can also do flexibility exercises for your lower leg muscles. 
  • Wearing a compression bandage will also be very helpful to treat shin splints. 

Shin splints usually get better with the simple treatments that are above. You can feel better within days, but it also depends on person to person and condition to condition, but mostly pain goes away with simple treatment. But it is recommended to rest after two weeks of recovery. After that, you can return to your activities but start with a lower level and gradually increase it. 

Surgical treatment

Surgery has opted in severe cases, and very few people need it. When there is no response to nonsurgical treatment, the last option is going for surgery. But it is not clear how effective the surgery will be. 

Concluding thoughts

Shin splints are very common among those who have high-impact activities. But anyone can experience this. There are many causes of shin splints, and we have explained them in this article. 

You should pay close attention to the causes and avoid all those things that cause shin splints. You keep yourself safe and healthy and avoid all the hassle due to injury when you take preventive measures. 

We hope that we have conveyed the essential and relevant information regarding the shin splints and their causes and we also really hope that you will find this article very helpful. 

Be safe and healthy.

Frequently asked questions

There are many causes of shin splints, but three major ones are

  • Intensive training or sports
  • Running on hard surfaces
  • Unsupportive shoes

Several exercises are very beneficial for shin splints. To name a few

  • Seated Calf Stretch. 
  • Toe Walking to Stretch, Strengthen. 
  • Heel Walking to Stretch, Strengthen. 
  • Standing Ankle Dorsiflexion Stretch. 
  • Straight Knee Calf Wall Stretch. 
  • Bent Knee Calf Wall Stretch. 
  • Wall Toe Raises for Strengthening. 
  • Foot Step Holds for Strengthening.

In this advanced era and development, shin splints can be prevented in different ways. Some of these are the following. 

  • Stretch your calves and hamstrings.
  • Avoid sudden increases in physical activity.
  • Exercise on softer surfaces when possible. 
  • Strengthen your foot and the arch of your foot. 
  • Strengthen your hip muscles.
  • Buy new athletic shoes that are right for you.
  • Stay at a healthy body weight.

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