What causes shin splints? Shin splints is one of those old health terms that pop up from time to time, like “lumbago.” Lumbago refers to low back pain, which actually can be caused by different things. The most effective treatments of low back pain are aimed at fixing the cause of the problem. Shin splints are no different and are caused by many different things. Because of this, a simple internet search for “shin splints treatments” may result in finding things that may not be too helpful.  

If you search for “shin splints,” the Internet is filled with articles and posts about how to prevent or cure “shin splints.” Unfortunately, these solutions may not be helpful if the treatments suggested does not address the cause of your shin splints!

The most common physical source of shin pain is stress applied to the muscles going to the inside of the ankle or the toes. This pain is most commonly felt on the inside of the shin bone (tibia) between the knee and the ankle. This is commonly referred to as “medial tibial stress syndrome”.

It is not that simple though. Shin pain can also be the result of stress fractures, compartment syndrome, nerve pain, muscle strains, circulatory problems, or infections. There’s not much that stretching or foam rolling can do to help these other sources of pain, no matter what the Internet tells you!

The cause of true medial tibial stress syndrome can be just as varied. One size fits all solutions, unfortunately, do not truly exist.

Fortunately, there are health care professionals who can help you figure out exactly what is causing your shin splints and direct you to the best treatment. Many times, Physical Therapy is the best medicine to help you overcome your shin splints, especially those caused by medial tibial stress syndrome. Sometimes the treatments involve exercises, stretches, and manual therapy (hands-on techniques) but usually involve correction of form or mechanics during activities. If you have shin splints, there is hope. It just takes a little action from you to get it looked at and start the process of healing!  

If you are looking for a physical therapist, schedule a visit at one of our locations.