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Shin splints is an umbrella term used to describe a sharp pain on the inside of your shin bone or tibia. Also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), this sharp pain is caused by inflammation to the soft tissues around the bone that can occur both during and after exercises and makes the area tender to touch. Over time, this stress and pulling on the shin bone can lead to chronic inflammation and, in extreme cases, stress fractures. MTSS is usually caused by a sudden change or increase in activity. This could be in the form of increasing the duration or intensity in exercise such as hill sprints. 
 
Additional factors that can attribute to the cause and aggravation of shin splints include: 
 
• Exercising in worn-out footwear 
• Poor foot strength 
• Rolling in on your ankles (Overpronation) 
• Restricted ankle and foot mobility 

How to prevent and treat shin splints 

There are many ways to help prevent and treat shin splints. These include: 
 
1. Soft tissue release - this can aid in reducing the pulling of the muscles on the shin bone and help to dissipate the inflammation 
2. Avoid overdoing it – too much running or high impact activity at too high an intensity can overload the shins. So, limiting such high impact activity can be beneficial in preventing shin splints. 
3. Choose the right footwear – biomechanical analysis will be able to help identify any patterns of movement that are suboptimal, which may be able to improve by changing your running technique and wearing different footwear. Typically, a runner should look to change their shoes every 350-500 miles. 
4. Consider shock absorbing footwear – this can aid in reducing symptoms and provide relief during running. 
5. Reduce heavy impact. 
6. Add strength training to your routine – stabilising the feet, ankles, knees and hips can help to prevent and reduce the likelihood of shin splints reoccurring. 

So, can I still run with shin splints? 

In short, by following the advice of your therapist… yes! To allow time for your shins to recover from their inflammation, it’s worth considering reducing the frequency of your training. This will go together with looking at altering the intensity of your exercises for a period, as well as the terrain and footwear you train on. Your therapist will be able to advise on the best structured ‘return to play’ plan to follow, with strict parameters to avoid overloading the tissues at the wrong time. Each case will have individual adjustments and treatment plans to achieve your goal, so be sure to follow advice for the best long-term results. 
 
Do you think you may have shin splints or do you need an appointment? Arrange a booking today with a friendly and experienced member of our team. 
 
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