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How to Get Rid of Shin Splint Pain for Good

How to Get Rid of Shin Splint Pain for Good

Elite runners and dancers, military recruits marching in formation, and even the stay-at-home mom going for a jog around the block can develop agonizing shin splints. Shin splints are painful overuse injuries that occur when you engage in high-impact activity and strain your lower leg muscles, tendons, and bones. 

You’re most at risk if you’ve recently intensified your activity levels and forgot to prepare your body properly. 

You might think that shin splints are no big deal, but leave them untreated for too long, and they can turn into a stress fracture that requires even more time off your feet. 

But don’t panic — shin splints can be a passing thing if you take a cue from our orthopedic experts, David Dickerson, MD, and Shawn Denning, DNP, at Performance Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Toms River and Shrewsbury, New Jersey. 

We have all the tools you need to side-step this frustrating problem by helping you understand why shin splints happen and help you train more efficiently to avoid them.

Evaluate your equipment

Athletes are among the most likely to get shin splints, so choosing a solid shoe tops our list of shin-splint prevention strategies. 

At the very least, your shoes should fit properly and feel comfortable. Ill-fitting shoes can cause blisters, change your gait, and make it hard to avoid injury. Your shoes should also be designed for your activity. For example, basketball, tennis, and running shoes are tailored to support those specific activities — make sure your shoes match your sport. 

We recommend replacing your shoes at the first sign of wear-and-tear or every 350-500 miles. 

Get your gait checked

Stop by your local running store or make an appointment with us to have your gait evaluated. This helps you identify and correct any issues with your form contributing to shin splints. 

We can also help you address flat feet and high arches with supportive inserts to keep shin splints and other injuries at bay.

Don’t overdo it

One of the best ways to get a shin splint is to bump up the frequency and intensity of your workouts without preparing your body. Instead, ease into intense training over time and make sure your body is ready to handle the new demands. 

Try something new

Cross-training is a great way to avoid shin splints. That doesn’t mean you have to stop training for your marathon. All it means is varying your movements and workouts to give your body a break from repetitive stress. 

You may also find that other types of exercise target areas in your body that your sport doesn’t normally, which can make you an overall stronger athlete. 

When you get shin splints

Despite your best efforts, shin splints can still happen; when they do, you need an answer. Here are some simple things you can pull out of your pocket to address shin splint pain. 

RICE protocol

Sometimes, all your body needs to recuperate is some basic TLC. When shin-splint pain sets in, start with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). 

Take a break from all activities that cause you pain, or swap them for low-impact exercises like swimming and yoga. Apply ice or a cold compress to your shin, and consider wearing compression sleeves to reduce inflammation in your shins. When you’re off your feet, kick them up — way up — to further reduce inflammation. 

Runners should decrease distance and frequency for a while and avoid hills, uneven surfaces, and hard surfaces. 


Stretching your calf and surrounding muscles is critical for treating and preventing shin splints. You can do many different shin-friendly stretches, but we’d like to share a few of our favorites. 

The seated shin stretch targets the muscles in your lower leg to relieve shin-splint pain and prime your legs for activity. To do it, begin in a kneeling position and place your hands on the floor behind you. Lean back gently and push down on your heels, using your body weight until you feel a stretch. The higher your knees lift off the ground, the more intense the stretch will be. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and repeat it up to three times. 

You can also do calf raises, wall-supported calf stretches, and even roll on a foam roller to feel relief. Remember to stop doing a stretch if it hurts or you suspect you have a more serious injury like a stress fracture. 

Shin splint pain can sideline you from the things you love to do most — unless you team up with us. If you have shin splint pain that won’t go away or want to talk with an expert about proper training, call our friendly staff to schedule an appointment at our location most convenient to you today.

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