Shin Splints – Keeping On Top Of Them

First, let’s get to know shin splints. Whether you’ve heard of them or have been at their mercy, shin splints are one painful side effect of physical activity. But where to start?

Shin splints is a term used to describe pain along the shin bone (Tibia), stemming anywhere from the knee to the ankle. The most common type of shin splints is “Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome”, and in itself is pretty self-explanatory. It’s essentially stress on the inner side of the Tibia affecting the bone, calf muscle, ligaments and tendons.

Shin splints can be a result of overuse (training too much, or too much too quickly), poor technique (pronation, or rolling inwards, can cause extra stress up the inner side of the Tibia), high impact activities (lots of jumping, plyometric exercises or training on hard surfaces), flat feet (flat feet can pull on tendons down the Tibia) and running shoes (lacking cushioning and support recommended for your activities).

Now we know what we’re dealing with, what can you do to help prevent them?

  • Seek the advice of a professional: It’s important to work with your physiotherapist to look at you and your situation from all angles. If Shin splints are left unattended without a proper assessment they could go from bad to worse very quickly!
  • Replace worn out footwear: Cushioning and support must meet the needs of your activities and your body.
  • Gradual increase is key: When training and exercising, only small changes should be made to give your body the chance to adapt to what needs to be done.
  • Choose your surface wisely: Hard surfaces can aggravate shins and surrounding tissue. When possible, train on softer surfaces (such as grass) and be mindful of other high impact activities such as sudden stops and jumping.
  • Biomechanical screening and assessment: This could be an option if you feel your running technique needs adjusting or you need exercises for stretching, strengthening, balance or flexibility.
  • Know when to back off: Easier said than done, we know. The most recommended treatment and preventative option is all about giving your body the chance to heal and relax. There are plenty of other options if you don’t want your training to be totally compromised but the key, really is, to take it easy when you feel the beast of shin splints brewing.

Overall, shin splints can be nasty business but taking small measures to prevent them can make a huge difference to your training and your lifestyle.  And as always, If you’d like some further information or have an injury concern, you can contact Progressive Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy today by either calling on (02) 4721 7798, emailing or clicking here to book online for a thorough initial assessment.

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.