Can Chiropractic Treat Shin Splints?

The term “shin splints” refers to pain along the shinbone (tibia) — the large bone, called the tibia, in the front of your lower leg. Most common in runners, dancers and military recruits. It is medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome, it often occur in athletes who have recently increased or changed their training routines. The muscles, tendons and bone tissue become strained by the increased activity, most specifically the tibialis anterior muscle (eccentrically controls plantar flexion at the ankle during heel strike).

Predisposing Activities:leg

  • running downhill
  • running on slated or tilted surface
  • running in worn-out footwear
  • engaging in sports with frequent starts and stops, such as basketball and tennis
  • starting out as a new runner
  • muscle imbalance

Predisposing Congenital Structures:

  • flat arches- feet will roll too far inward (hyperpronation)


  • Tenderness, soreness or pain along the inner part of your lower leg
  • Mild swelling
  • Pain may stop when you stop running
  • Continuous pain even when not engaging in activity


  • Typically diagnosed based on a medical history and physical exam only
  • In rare cases, x-ray or other imaging is done to rule out stress fracture

Treatment Options:

  • In acute stages: try to avoid the activities that cause pain and swelling just for the first 24-48 hours. Substitute with low impact activities such as water walking or cycling
  • Ice: 15-20 minutes at a time, several times throughout the day
  • Engage in proper pre-run warm-up routines
  • Engage in post-run stretching
  • Proper shoes with arch support. Custom orthotics when necessary.
  • Chiropractic:
    • mobilization or manipulation of fixated joints in the ankle/foot
    • Soft tissue techniques to break up taught muscle fibers/trigger points
    • Stretch and strengthen muscle imbalances

Carone Chiropractic Center has been successfully treating this condition for over 10 years with non-invasive techniques. If you value running, chiropractic should be a part of your program.

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