3 Strategies for Fending Off Shin Splints

Shin splints don't have to be the end to your running career. Here are a few simple steps to maintaining healthy shins.

3 Strategies for Fending Off Shin Splints

Say Goodbye to Shin Splints

Written by Shaun Palmer, PT, DPT, ATC

Shin Splints, or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, is a common runner’s injury. It occurs in up to 20% of runners and 35% of military recruits. It normally occurs during changes in training routines, changes in training surfaces, or changes in training intensity. These changes in training cause micro-traumas in bone and muscle along the shin, causing pain. Small pockets of inflammation can be felt along the borders of the tibia. If left untreated, it can derail a person’s training regimen and last longer than it should if proper early treatment was administered. If it is treated early, it can be managed through the following steps at home. If it gets too severe or is allowed to continue for too long, treatment in physical therapy will be necessary. Please note, that if these symptoms progress into significant swelling in the lower leg and you begin to feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in the foot, this is a medical emergency and may be progressing into a condition called compartment syndrome. If this happens, seek medical attention immediately.

To treat shin splints, it’s important to break up adhesions that form with this micro-trauma, ice, and stretch out. Here are 3 things to do to treat it.


Stretch out the tibialis anterior muscle, which runs along the side of your tibia (shin bone).

Hold it for 30-60 seconds. Repeat twice.

Roll Out

There are a couple of ways to roll out the anterior tibialis muscle.

You can use the RAD Rod to roll it out. Use pressure as tolerated and perform for several minutes each day. Even if you don’t have shin splints, you can be preventative and do it before runs.

Or you can use the Helix by RAD to roll out your anterior tibialis. Put your shin in the divot of the Helix. Put pressure down as tolerated and roll up and down.

Ice Massage

Here’s a cool hack. Fill a paper dixie cup with water and freeze it. Then peel away the top to reveal the ice and use massage the areas of pain as aggressively as you can tolerate for 5 minutes. Perform daily.


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