Why am I getting shin pain when I'm running?

Shin pain, or Shin Splints occur at the front (or anterior) part of the shin and affects the tibiais anterior muscle. The tibialis anterior moves your foot up and down. It lifts your foot during gait, and then slowly lowers your foot to prepare your foot for standing.

If your shin pain increases when lifting your toes up with your heels on the ground, you are likely to suffer from anterior shin splints. Anterior shin splints can be called anterior tibial stress syndrome (ATSS)

Shin splints usually occur with exercise and are a sign of overuse – overuse can happen when you are doing too much too soon, or if you body is overloaded due to your biomechanics.

We see people with shin pain after recently starting a running program, or increasing their distances, or when changing their activity (for example, starting to do hill running instead of running on flats).

Some common biomechanical reasons for Shin Splints are;

  • Collapsed foot (low arch)
  • High arched, rigid foot
  • Footwear that is unsuitable for your foot type
  • Footwear that is old and worn out
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Lack of ankle joint flexibility

To reduce your risk of shin splints, here are 5 tips to help you;

1.     Don’t go too hard too fast – aim to increase your runs by a little every week

2.     Try not to run on hard surfaces too often, vary your surfaces and try to run on grass or softer surfaces where possible

3.     Before starting a new running program, check your shoes! If you have to remove dust from them, or you can’t remember when you bought them – its probably time for a new pair! See a shoe retailer who actually KNOWS about running shoes and get the right shoe to match your needs.

4.     Warm up your muscles before you go hard. Lightly jog for 10 minutes before you start to run faster, this way your muscles are ready to withstand the increased pressure.

5.     Alternate your exercise and don’t run every day. Mix up running with other forms of exercise, like swimming or bike riding or rowing to give your muscles a break.


Shin splints can result in tibial stress fractures if they are not treated with care. If you are struggling with shin pain, book in for an appointment today and we can help you get rid of them for good!