Shin splints are a common condition that affect a lot of people. Generally speaking shin splints are injuries that occur to people who participate in athletic endeavors, however that does not always have to be the case. Shin splints are most commonly seen in populations that run or walk a lot. They are usually overuse injuries. The term shin splint is not a specific diagnosis as there can be different conditions that actually cause someone to suffer from shin splints. There are two main types of shin splints anterior and posterior shin splints. Anterior shins splints are often caused by injury to the tibialis anterior muscle. Tibialis anterior is a muscle that is located on the front and medial side of your leg. It is most responsible for dorsal flexion as well as inversion of the foot. It appears that this muscle is injured during the landing phase of gait when it is being used as a shock absorber. Small damage similar to what you might see in tendinitis occurs to the muscle and its associated tendon. This leads to inflammation and pain as a result. The other main type of shin splints are called posterior shin splints. Posterior shin splints involves the tibialis posterior which is responsible for inversion and plantar flexion of the foot. The tibialis posterior may also be injured during the landing phase of gait or during toe off. It is again usually an overuse injury similar to a tendinitis. The main difference is the tibialis posterior pain causes discomfort on the back side of the medial side of the leg.


Regardless of the type of shin splint the patients history and an in-office examination are usually enough to diagnose the condition. One will often have a history of overuse of the leg such as being involved in walking, running, or sporting events. Palpation of the area will be tender and painful. If one has anterior shin splints the area of discomfort is likely to be on the front of the leg and if one has posterior shin splints the back of the leg will likely have the sore spots. Muscle strength testing can further be used to diagnose this condition. Patients with anterior shin splints will have pain dorsal flexing their foot against resistance. Patients at Tauberg Chiropractic & Rehabilitation with posterior shin splints are likely to have pain while plantar flexing their foot against resistance.


Shin splints are first treated using the PRICE protocol. If you are unfamiliar PRICE stands for protect, rest, ice, compress, and elevate. These are the key factors in decreasing inflammation and damage to the area. Taking a rest from the activity that causes the pain for a day or two is especially important. This allows the area to have time to heal. One, however, does not want to rest for too long as this too can have negative consequences. After the initial stage of treatment a graded rehabilitation plan can be put in progress. The end goal of the rehabilitation plan will be to strengthen the muscle or tendons that where being damaged and to restore pain free range of motion to the area. Orthotics may be needed for some people. If the condition where to persist, then ones biomechanics may need to be altered for the aggravating activity. Most often this means changing someone’s running habits. This all can be done at Tauberg Chiropractic & Rehabilitation in Pittsburgh & Fox Chapel. Call us today to discuss how we can help you! Our number is 412-517-8124.


  • Souza, T. A. (2016). Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning.