Medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), or ‘shin splints’ as it’s commonly known, describes pain along the front of the lower shin that worsens with running/exercise.

It is a common injury in runners or those involved in sports which require a lot of running. It is often caused due to overload in that area e.g. increasing running intensity too quickly. In the acute stages especially it can be quite painful. There are some useful tips to help manage shin splints listed below.

Pain Management for Shin Splints:

1. Relative Rest

Shin splints are caused by overload. Reducing the load on the area will help decrease pain levels. When the pain has settled it’s important to gradually increase activity when returning to running/sport so as to avoid the injury reoccurring.

2. Cross Training

If your shin splints are caused by running or impact, then swapping out running for a bike,rower or elliptical for cardiovascular exercise one or two days per week could be something to consider. These are good ways of keeping fitness levels up, while not having the same load through your shins.

3. Ice

Ice can be beneficial for pain relief post exercise if your shins are sore.

4. Change footwear/terrain

Shoes lose their cushioning and shock absorption capabilities over time and usage. Upgrading to a newer pair  of shoes can be very beneficial to help tolerate the impact of running. Terrain is also something to consider – road running can often be a provocative factor, changing to running on grass will result in less impact through the lower limbs.

5. Orthotics

Shin splints can often be as a result of poor bio-mechanics in the foot leading to overload in the shin. Appropriately fitted orthotics can correct any bio-mechanical imbalances in the foot. This will lead to reduced stress through the shin when running.


If you are suffering with shin splints or pain with running/activity, you can contact us for a full assessment and management plan to get you back running pain free. Call us on 021 4633455, or you can book an appointment online by clicking  here

We hope you enjoyed today’s blog by Eileen Folye, Chartered Physiotherapist.