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Physical Therapy and Shin Splints

Physical Therapy and Shin Splints

Did you ever have pain in the front of your lower leg – especially after a run or a good walk? This pain in the front is known as a shin splint and it is most common in runners. It can happen from running too many miles too quickly. It can also happen if you run on hard surfaces a lot or run too far too soon.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms are pain in the shin bone in the front of the lower leg between the knee and the ankle.


The “shin” is the hard part of the front of your lower leg. It is officially known as the tibia, and it goes from the knee to the ankle. Muscle attaches on both sides of this bone. When overstressed, the muscle will begin to pull away from the bone and that causes the pain you feel. Inflammation of the tissue that connects the muscles to the bones becomes angry and then you feel the pain.

How my physical therapist can help…

A physical therapist will use many techniques, including ice massage, therapeutic exercises and manual therapy to alleviate pain. Ice massage can be directly applied to the painful area for 2-5 minutes. This helps to decrease the pain but does not last long. Physical therapy will make the symptoms relief stick!

Combined, therapeutic exercises and manual therapy (physical therapy) work to increase the strength of the affected muscles and decrease pain with massage. A physical therapist will give a home exercise program to be completed daily or 3-5x a week at home and after therapy to decrease the chance of experiencing shin splints again. Stretching the lower leg muscles and those that attach to the shin is very important in rehab for shin splints. This makes sure that the muscles are loose enough to not add any unnecessary pressure on the shinbone. Tight muscles pull and tug on the bone and will contribute to your shin splints.

How will my physical therapist/physical therapy help me get back to running?

When your shin splints have subsided, it is important to begin running again at a low mileage and slower speed. Your physical therapist will help guide you on increasing your mileage slowly. Running on softer surfaces, such as tracks and trails can help too. Get a daily stretching routine from your physical therapist too and your muscles will stay loose. At home, apply ice after running for 10 minutes to your shins. for more information!!!