Pain in the Leg: Chiropractic Care for Shin Splints

Pain in the Leg: Chiropractic Care for Shin Splints

If you’ve ever experienced sharp and razor-like pain on the front outside of the shin or the inside the lower leg above the ankle, it’s possible you’ve suffered from a condition known as “shin splints.” Although simple resting measures can relieve this exercise-induced discomfort, when the pain persists, you should seek out treatment, particularly from a chiropractor.

What Causes Shin Splints?

Shin splints, also known as “medial tibial stress syndrome,” typically develop after physical activity that overworks or strains the muscles, tendons, and bone tissues around the tibia, causing them to become inflamed.

Although most often associated with running, shin splints can occur after any vigorous activity, especially for beginners. Risk factors that increase the likelihood of experiencing shin splints include having flat feet or rigid arches, wearing improper footwear, and being overweight.

However, those most diagnosed with shin splints are runners, dancers, and military recruits who suffer from this pain after sudden changes (such as a dramatic increase in frequency, duration, or intensity) in their physical routine.

What Are the Symptoms of Shin Splints?

Mild swelling may occur in the shin area, but the most common symptom for shin splints is pain along the edge of the tibia. This pain can be sharp and razor-like or dull and throbbing. When the pain occurs on the front outside of the shin, it is felt first when the heel touches the ground while running and then becomes constant, leaving the shin painful to touch. Pain also may occur inside the lower leg above the ankle; this can worsen with standing on the toes or inwardly rolling the ankle.


Shin splints may be prevented with proper footwear, stretching, and moderating the intensity and type of exercise.

  • Footwear: Wear proper athletic shoes designed for your specific activity (e.g., use running shoes, not basketball shoes, for running). Also, if you have a flat foot or high arch, find shoes that match your foot pattern and offer proper support, perhaps through orthotics.
  • Stretching: Before beginning or returning to an exercise, always warm up and stretch thoroughly to increase muscle response to the activity.
  • Intensity: If you’re new to a particular exercise, slowly build up your fitness level. Don’t do too much too fast. When embarking on any new exercise routine, it’s always advisable to gradually increase the intensity, duration, and frequency.
  • Exercise Type: Switch up your activities so muscles have a chance to rest. Consider alternating high impact jogging or running with lower impact things like swimming or cycling.


Health care providers can recommend the best treatment based on your age, overall health, and health history, but simple measures—moderation, rest, ice, compression, pain medications, stretching and flexibility exercises, and appropriate footwear—most often relieve the pain and reduce the recurrence of shin splints.

What if Simple Treatments Don’t Help?

“Shin splints that do not go away, or keep happening over and over, suggest that you need to get a professional evaluation and treatment,” says Dr. Rick Gross of Quality Care Chiropractic.

Dr. Gross adds, “Some of our most effective treatments include chiropractic adjustments of the feet and spine, MLS Laser to reduce pain and inflammation, Kinesio Tape, the best custom foot orthotics for your shoes, and specific stretching methods to improve flexibility. We also use the B3 Bands exercise technique to improve athletes’ endurance and strength to reduce the risk of injury.”

In particular, chiropractors, Dr. Gross continues, “have great success treating shin splints because we address tight muscles and dysfunctions in the foot, knee, and hip that all cause this condition. We take this condition seriously because although the pain may go away with some medication, the foot and leg dysfunction is the true problem that needs to be treated.”

For any experience with shin splint pain, contact us at Quality Care Chiropractic in Aurora, IL, at (630) 499-2225 for a consultation and to learn how we can help get you back to whole-body health.

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