Shin Pain in Active People

Shin pain – Why does it happen?

Shin pain is extremely common in active adults, being mostly runners, dancers, and those who walk on different terrains. Predominantly, “shin splints” occur in athletes who have made training errors in their weekly loads. Shin splints occurs when there is inflammation of the muscular attachment along the inside border of the shin bone (tibia).

Usually, this presents as a dull pain on one or both shins, usually when commencing activity but reduces while training or competing, only for the pain to return during the cool down period.1

Predisposing factors:

  1. Running on hard surfaces

  2. Using shoes with poor shock absorbing abilities

  3. Running technique errors (particularly overstriding)

  4. Reduced gluteal strength

How do I prevent it, or fix it if I have it already?

If you have shin pain while running, your body is telling you something! Getting your running load

(being number of sessions, duration, or intensity) under control is the crucial first step, until it is at a level where you aren’t pulling up sore afterwards or in the days following.

If you are wanting to continue running, or even take up running for the first time, it’s crucial that you get your running technique assessed by one of our physiotherapists. In this assessment, we look at your foot strike, hip & knee drive, step length, step width, and so much more! If you plan on running more than once in your life, you want to be building your load on a good foundation with solid technique.

Following this, it’s time to get strong! Improving your gluteal, quadricep & hamstring strength will help with your shock absorbing abilities as you land and reduce the load through your ankles (and therefore your shins). Some of these exercises might include step ups, bridges, and bent knee calf raises – but these are selected individually by your physio, so it’s important to work on a program together.

If you have any questions about this information or want to book in to get your running assessed, please give us a call on 9307 1244, or head to our website for more details!


1. Lohrer, H., Malliaropoulos, N., Korakakis, V., & Padhiar, N. Exercise-induced leg pain in athletes: diagnostic, assessment, and management strategies. The Physician and sports medicine. 2018

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