Shin Pain - Shin Splints Blog Series Part 1

Shin splints are an umbrella term used to describe the pain felt around the front portion of the lower leg. The reason it is described as an umbrella term is because “shin splints” is not an exact diagnosis. In fact, there are a few different causes of shin pain that have been classified. The three most common are explained below in detail:

  1. Medial tibial stress syndrome
  2. Chronic exertional compartment syndrome
  3. Medial tibial stress fracture


Medial tibial stress syndrome


Usually felt as a vague pain along the inside of the shin. It is thought to be due an overload of the shin bone (tibia). It is classified as bony stress reaction.



It is usually caused by altered biomechanics when running or walking. Abnormal foot positioning can be a contributing factor. An increase in load is also found to be linked with the condition.

Clinical features

  • Diffuse tenderness down the distal two thirds of the tibia
  • Pain initially with exercise that can subside as the person continues
  • Onset coincides with an increase in training load
  • Pain usually ceases when exercise ceases

Risk Factors

  • Abnormal foot positioning
  • Inappropriate foot wear
  • Reduced hip strength
  • Increased calf girth
  • Decreased tibial bone density


  • Joint mobilisations
  • Deep massage therapy
  • Dry needling
  • Stretching
  • Strength Exercises
  • Sports compression socks
  • Taping
  • Review medical, nutritional and hormonal abnormalities
  • Correction of biomechanical abnormalities
  • Advice on footwear
  • Orthotics

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, our experienced physiotherapists can help. Call us on 9361 3777 to make an appointment.