Shin pain is a fairly common complaint of athletes and is commonly referred to as “shin splints”. There can be a number of reasons why athletes will develop shin pain and it is not uncommon to have two or three different conditions existing at the same time.

One of the more common causes of shin pain is medial tibial periostitis or medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) which is inflammation of the soft tissue lining of the tibia (periosteum). The usual symptoms of this injury are:






  • pain along the medial (inner) border of the tibia (shin)
  • pain usually decreases after warming up
  • can usually finish a training session but pain will return the next morning
  • there may be palpable lumps along the inner border of the shin

There are a multitude of reasons why an athlete may develop MTSS and they include:

  • Flat feet (pronation)
  • Poor footwear choice
  • Training errors
  • Muscle imbalance – weakness of tibialis posterior, soleus and flexor digitorum longus (particularly eccentrically)
  • Inadequate flexibility – tightness of gastrocnemius & soleus
  • Training surface
  • Fatigue
  • Ankle instability (from repeated ankle sprains)

So now you know what is causing your shin pain, but what can you do about it?

First, go and get an assessment by your favourite practitioner – physio, osteo, chiro, etc, who should be checking your biomechanics while running or jumping (whatever is causing your pain). Although “shin splints” or MTSS may be the most common problem, you may actually be suffering from stress fractures or compartment syndrome, so it’s important to have a professional check you out.

The goal of treatment for shin splints/MTSS is to relieve the symptoms through identifying the cause of the problem and treating the underlying pathology. Initially, it is advised to rest from aggravating activities and  then a variety of treatment techniques can then be applied:

  • massage/myofascial release
  • acupuncture/dry needling
  • strapping (to control pronation) or orthotics
  • eccentric exercise therapy (to strengthen tibialis posterior, soleus, FDL)
  • stretching/foam rolling (for tight muscles)
  • compression therapy

Having shin pain can be debilitating and will definitely stop you in your tracks from being able to perform WODs with running, box jumps or double unders. So go get it checked out and start treatment straight away!

MobilizeMe in the App Store:

MobilizeMe in Google Play: