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What causes shin splints?

Shin splints are caused by a number of different factors. The medical term for shin splints is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS). The very nature of it being referred to as a syndrome indicates that there are several things that can be the root of the problem.

Examples of how shin splints are caused;

A sudden increase in training.

This can be for someone who is new to running and has not paced themselves or an athlete returning from a period of rest or deciding to ramp up the training. This overloading of the muscles in the lower part of the leg is one of the main causes of shin splints.

Flat feet or poor mechanics.

Placing an abnormal load through the foot and ankle can place undue stress through the shins and increase in demand on the muscles causing shin splints. Overpronation of the foot (Flat feet) can be corrected through orthotics or supportive footwear. It is beneficial to have your gait analysed at your local running shop to identify any areas to improve on.

Inappropriate footwear.

Old running trainers or ill-fitting footwear can contribute to shin splints. Similar to the point above, this will lead to poor mechanics of the foot and ankle resulting in abnormal loading through the shins.

Hard surfaces.

Running on hard surfaces can cause shin splints. I remember playing a rugby tournament in South Africa where the pitch was baked hard. By the end of the second day, I could barely take a step without pain shooting through my shins.


How to treat shin splints


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