Tom asked the Guru about Shin Splints and any long term fixes

August 7, 2014

What is the best treatment for a sprinter looking for relief from Shin Splints? Are there any long term fixes?

Thanks, Tom

August 7, 2014

Hi Tom

Great idea to think long term – most people want short term answers and temporary relief.

Sprinting is very different to running – you have lots of forefoot action and so need to have adequate motion in your talocrural and subtalar joints as well as your forefoot itself.

Gross ankle motion (pulling your foot up) is key, as if big toe mobility. If you lack these 2 key movements your foot will roll into compensate (and get the motion elsewhere) which will lead to increase shear and load on the front of your shin.

Foot posture, control and balance need to be optimal for what your running in, especially if you race in spikes. There are some slim line orthotics that can be added to low profile shoes and there are some decent podiatrists who specialise in this – but the orthotics must address the cause rather than the symptoms.

Calf muscle strength (of both gastroc and soleus) needs to be upped with lots of single leg work. Glut control and endurance, so you can control your landing leg and power off your trailing leg need to be specifically and functionally trained. Running in water or under band tension is great.

And finally your running style and cadence will need a good hard look at – shin splints can occur via the wrong type of training but mostly they occur due to how you’re doing your training.

……all that without mentioning calf flexibility, the short term reliever.

The Guru
Six Physio

Guru Responded

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