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Are Shin Splints Preventing You From Running ?


Shin Splints (Front of Shin Type) Author, Mr. Paul Gabriel Scullion.,

FCPodS Podiatric Surgeon Signs and symptoms

This condition usually occurs within the muscle belly at the front of the shin. Typically a cramping type pain develops in the upper 1/3 of the front of the leg during repetitive actions such as road running or fast walking but will settle down quickly following rest. The main concern from this condition is the lack of enjoyment to pursue such leisure activities as the problem occurs each time the activity is undertaken.

What’s going on?

Essentially the muscle in the front of the shin, when functioning normally, permits both the controlled landing of the foot during its contact onto the ground and also holds the foot off the ground as the leg swings through the air preventing you from tripping during walking or running.

The main cause of this type of shin splints can be associated with weakness of a muscle called Tibialis Anterior. When a weak muscle is forced to perform extra work then its weakness will cause cramping and pain in the overworked muscle belly. Occasionally Tibialis Anterior may have good strength but the amount of excessive movement in the foot can be the root cause of overworking the muscle belly. This means that when the foot is moving through its controlled landing, during walking or running, should the arch collapses excessively ( excessive pronation ) then the muscle in the front of the shin has to perform extra work associated with this extra and unwanted movement.

How is it treated?

Initial treatment consists of specific strengthening routines. This involves sitting on a desk and hooking the front of the foot through the handle of an old paint tin. The tin can is filled with some sand. By using the muscle at the front of the shin the tin is lifted up and down slowly. This action is repeated until the front of shin develops pain. The individual stops until the pain subside and the routine is then repeated for about five times. Following this routine twice daily will eventually provide normal strength for this muscle.

Where the strength of the muscle is good but the individual still suffers from shin splints then a pair of custom foot orthoses will help how the foot lands on the ground controlling any excessive foot pronation.


Although a breaking in period is required for the wearing of custom foot orthoses an individual will find their shin splints settling within four weeks with the use of such custom devices.

Mr Scullion is a podiatric surgeon and has been in private practice in The Castleknock Clinic, 23 Castleknock Avenue, Castleknock, Dublin for 23 years. He has also guest lectured over a 10 year period in lower limb biomechanics for the MSc in Sports Medicine at Trinity College, Dublin.Signs and symptoms.