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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    I have pains shooting up my shins when I run - why could this be?

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  • Anthony Short

    Podiatrist (General)

    Anthony Short BAppSc(Pod) MPod hold both Bachelor and Master level degrees in podiatry, and works in private practice, hospital and educational positions within Brisbane. His … View Profile

    There are three common causes of shin pain in athletes and runners; tibial stress fractures, compartment syndrome, and medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints).
    A careful history and examination, coupled with x-rays or bone scans in some instances, will help to determine which is the causes. Medial tibial stress syndrome is usually the most common cause, and this is usually due to mechanical stress affecting the inside (medial) border of the tibia, and is often associated with pronated (flat) feet and ‘bowing’ of the lower part of the leg.
    This is often managed by podiatrists with calf stretching, footwear advice and orthotics.

  • 1


    Most likely, I would agree that nasty shin pain when running is medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), aka “shin splints.”  One of the most important elements I see with these types of symptoms is normal mobility of the ankle joint.

    Think of the ankle like a shock absorber.  So, if when you run the ankle is not absorbing that shock, that extra stress will work up your body and may affect your shins, knees, and even up into the spine.

    A few thoughts that come to mind:

    1.  Have a qualified person assess the mobility of your ankles that they are properly aligned and moving (chiropractor, podiatrist, massage therapist).
    2.  Have a qualified person assess your running gait (ie you aren't slamming down heel-first) and that your shoes are properly fitted (podiatrist, physiotherapist).  I would add that orthotics should be prescibed only if required.

    Good news is that if it is a simple case of MTSS that is causing your discomfort, with the right correction it usually resolves itself very quickly.

  • Spring is an osteopathic clinic and we treat people through all stages of life including children, teenagers with study strains, athletes, new mums, tradesmen, desk … View Profile

    Shin pain during exercise can be caused by many factors. As suggested by other practitioners, it could be a simple case of “shin splints” or it could be compartment syndrome or stress fractures through the tibia.

    “Shin splints” is often the likely culprit for such a complaint. I would recommend getting assessed by a medical professional to determine the likely cause. If it is shin splints, they quite often respond to orthotic prescription or a change in foot wear. Frequently people use shoes such as, cross-trainers that aren't appropriate for running. Ideally if you are running, you need a light weight shoe specifically designed for running, which has plenty of support.

    Ice and ice massge up the shin is a common way to help reduce symptoms of shin splints. However, I recommend that you get a formal assessment to determine the cause of your pain. Please call me at Spring Osteo Clinic on 9830 7044 if you have any questions.

  • James is passionate about osteopathy, it’s philosophy and works with facilitating the bodies innate drive for health and balance. He enjoys teaching patients about how … View Profile


    I agree with the above answers in regards to medial tibial stress syndrome. It is caused by tibialis posterior muscle pulling on it's attachement site on the shin. As mentioned above typically these are related to biomechancial issues through the foot, but can also be related to dysfunction through the lumbo-pelvic and hip region. Typically the tissues are being overloaded because of biomechanical limitations.

    Icing as above mentioned will help with the inflammation and pain. Rest is required from running with gradual reintroduction once you have made changes to the biomechanics, even things such as grass compared to concrete can make a difference.

    Hope this helps,


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