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Preventing Shin Splints in Runners

The term Shin Splints is also known as “medial tibial stress syndrome” and is typically seen in running sports such as track and field and cross-country.  This stress is specific to the lower leg and is typically caused by improper or worn-out shoes with a lack of arch support or muscular tightness in the calves. It also is an overuse injury meaning that there typically no one incident that caused the injury, but developed over time. The injury can also occur when increasing the intensity of your running program or when just starting your running program. Runners should be sure to have the proper footwear for their specific sport or events as well as making time to diligently stretch prior, during and after their workout. Use the following stretches to help remain healthy.

Calf Stretching- using a wall or step, dorsiflex (bring toes up toward shin) while heels remain in contact with the ground. By bending the knee or keeping it straight, different parts of the calf will be stretched. This can also be done with a stretch band or rope in a seated position.  Hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds and perform 2-3 times.


Strengthening can also be useful in preventing shin splints. Typically, runners have strong calves, so it is important to balance the strength by exercising the anterior tibialis muscle or the ones in the front of your shin. Utilize the simple exercise below to strengthen this muscle.

Toe Raises- Standing with your knees straight and leaning against the wall, raise your toes in the air and slowly lower your feet back to the ground. Repeat for three sets of 10 repetitions.





Kyle Romine is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist at Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Lake Forest, CA.