Shin Splints | Chiropractic and Sports Injury | Herndon, Sterling & Northern, VA

Shin Splints

What are shin splints? 

Shin splints are injuries to the front of the outer leg. While the exact injury is not known, shin splints seem to result from inflammation due to injury of the tendon (posterior peroneal tendon) and adjacent tissues in the front of the outer leg.

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

  • Shin splints are a type of "overuse injury" to the legs

  • The pain is characteristic and located on the outer edge of the mid region of the leg next to the shinbone (tibia). It can be extreme and halt workouts

  • The diagnosis requires a careful focused examination

  • A multifaceted approach of "relative rest" can restore a pain-free level of activity and a return to competition

  • The relative rest approach includes a change in the workout, ice, rest, anti-inflammatory medications, stretching exercises, possible change in footwear, and gradual increase in running activities


What are symptoms of shin splints?

Shin splints cause pain in the front of the outer leg below the knee. The pain of shin splints is characteristically located on the outer edge of the mid region of the leg next to the shinbone (tibia). An area of discomfort measuring 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) in length is frequently present. Pain is often noted at the early portion of the workout, then lessens, only to reappear near the end of the training session. Shin splint discomfort is often described as dull at first. However, with continuing trauma, the pain can become so extreme as to cause the athlete to stop workouts altogether.

What causes shin splints? 

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 lower leg muscles, those muscles used in lifting the foot (the motion during which the foot pivots toward the tibia). Such a situation can be aggravated by a tendency to pronate the foot (roll it excessively inward onto the arch). Risk factors for shin splints include running and over-training on hills, inadequate footwear for athletic activity, and poor biomechanics of the design of the legs and feet

What is the treatment for shin splints? 

Previously, two different treatment management strategies were used: total rest or a "run through it" approach. The total rest was often an unacceptable option to the athlete. The run through it approach was even worse. It often led to worsening of the injury and of the symptoms.

Currently, Recharge employs a multifaceted approach of rehabilitative techniques combined with relative rest to successfully restore the athlete to a pain-free level of competition.


The following steps are part of the multifaceted approach:

  • Workouts such as stationary bicycling or pool running:

  • Application of ice packs reduces inflammation

  • Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin)

  • Pay careful attention to selecting the correct running shoe based upon the foot type

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises are done twice a day

Recharge therapies used to treat shin splints:

  • Active Release

  • Myofacial Release

  • Graston Technique

  • Ice Therapy

  • Stretching and Strengthening Exercises