The condition of shin splints, or pain in the front of the lower leg, is common in the running community. It should be noted that shin splints as a “diagnosis” will do little to determine the underlying cause.  It is important to understand why this is happening to better determine the best course of treatment and rehabilitation.

Common causes of shin splints include:

  • Foot pronation
  • Downhill running
  • Running on a grade
  • Improper/worn footwear
  • Excessive training volume
    • Musclular imbalances
      • Strength/stability
    • Mobility/flexibility

Typically the pain and discomfort experienced with shin splints can be attributed to an abnormal excessive inward rotation of the tibia due to instability of the medial arch of the foot, or over pronation during the gait cycle.  Repeated pronation and internal rotation of the tibia results in accumulated micro-trauma to the muscular connection of the muscle (tibialis anterior) to the bone (tibia) and within the muscle itself.  Over time, this can develop into scar tissue adhesions, weaknesses, and strength imbalances.  Addititionally, the repeated microtrauma can lead to stress fractures of the tibia.

Treatment for shin splints include:

  • Rest, Ice, Elevation, NSAIDs during the acute stages
  • Assessment/treatment of soft-tissues
    • ART/Sports Massage
  • Functional rehabilitative exercise
  • Orthotics to stabilize medial arch
  • Check and replace shoes

Basic at-home rehabilitation includes ankle mobility exercises which will work all of the major muscles of the foot and lower leg.  Stand on one foot and draw the alphabet with the other.  Repeat on the other side.


Active Performance Chiropractic focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of athletic-related injuries. Treatment is a unique blend of Active Release Techniques, traditional chiropractic therapy, and physical rehabilitation designed to match each patient’s goals andlifestyle.