If you’ve ever jogged, chances are you would have experienced shin pain either during or after your run. This common condition is called shin splints. But what exactly causes this pain and do only runners suffer from it? Our experts at the Department of PhysiotherapySingapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group, shares the facts about shin splints.

Management of shin splints

Proper shin splint management depends on the severity of the condition.

In the acute phase, shin splint pain can be treated with rest and ice applied over the affected area to reduce the inflammation. Taking over-the-counter pain relief medication may also help with the pain and swelling. However, physical activity should not be given up altogether. Instead, engage in stretching exercises and exercises that strengthen the lower limb and core muscles.

When foot biomechanical abnormalities may be the cause of shin splints, appropriate footwear or medial arch supports can be used to prevent excessive pronation (inward rolling of the foot) during running.

In severe cases such as a stress fracture, sufficient rest and use of crutches and/or a cast are required until the bone heals. If any of the symptoms persists, do consult a doctor for further investigations.

Prevention of shin splints

To prevent shin splints, you should:

  1. Do warm-ups and stretch y​our muscles before any exercise
  2. Wear appropriate, fitting footwear when running
  3. Plan smartly when deciding to increase frequency, intensity or duration of any activity
  4. Include lower limb and core muscle strengthening workouts in your training program​​

Ref: Q15