Shin splints is a type of shin pain, usually caused by exercise. It's not serious and there are things you can do to help get better.
You will have pain and tenderness along your shin (the front part of your leg from the knee to the ankle).
Causes of shin splints
Shin splints happen when you've put too much stress on your leg. They usually happen when you do exercise like running.
You're more likely to get shin splints if:
- you have started exercising after not being active for some time
- you run or jump on hard surfaces
- you do not have a good running technique
Tips to help with shin splints
Shin splints usually get better within a few weeks. There are things you can do to get better quicker.
take paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease the pain
put an ice pack (or bag of frozen vegetables) in a towel on your shin for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours
switch to gentle exercise such as yoga or swimming while healing
exercise on soft ground, if you can, when you're feeling better
warm up before exercise and stretch after exercise
make sure your trainers or shoes support your feet properly
do not continue doing the exercise that caused your shin splints
do not rush back into exercise at the level you were at – build your exercise routine back up slowly
When to contact your GP
Non-urgent advice: Contact your GP if:
- you've tried things to help but the pain is not getting better after a week
- the pain is severe or getting worse
- you've injured your shin
Treating shin splints
Your GP will ask about your symptoms and examine your leg. If it's not getting better, they may advise you to attend a physiotherapist.
Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE