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What are shin splints?
Shin splints

Shin splints are a common problem in the lower leg for athletes who change from one playing surface to another between seasons.


Common in young players who play a lot of sport.

Cricketer James Kirtley has suffered, and many footballers such as Andy Cole have been temporarily laid off by it.


It is an injury that can be caused in several ways.

The muscles at the front of the leg get injured or inflamed.

This can stem from playing too much sport on hard surfaces.

Or because of a weakness in the leg muscles, your running technique or even whether you have flat feet or high arches.


Because these muscles are contained and sealed within a tough membrane it only takes a small amount of swelling before pain occurs since the muscles can't expand
Dr Rob Hicks

Tenderness in tibia (shin) area.

The affected muscles in the tibia also help maintain the arch of the foot which means there may also be pain when the toes or ankle is bent.

The pain stops when resting, but the injury will often remain unless the above causes are treated.


Rest will help to relieve the injury, but does not necessarily cure it.

Physiotherapists may ensure you are wearing proper footwear, tape your shins or even recommend a leg brace.

Cooling the injury in acute stages and then applying heat may also help.

Building up your muscles around your ankles will help to support those leg muscles causing the pain.

And getting yourself some proper cushioned footwear will help to soften the impact when your feet hit the ground when running.

Changing the way you run may also need to be considered. Having a smoother stride will again mean that the impact is spread more evenly throughout your feet and legs.


Can vary hugely but usually between two to four months. Do not start training until pain and tenderness in tibia has gone.


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