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Why do my shins hurt when I run?

27th February 2018

Why do my shins hurt when I run?

This is a common complaint seen in my Townsville Podiatry clinic. Shin pain can be very frustrating, especially when you are just getting into an exercise regime. There are many causes of shin pain, but I think the most common cause is ‘too much too soon’. Patients will often get shin pain at the start of a footy season or 2 weeks into a 12 week boot-camp challenge.

There are many causes of shin pain which can include:

  • Over-pronated, collapsing arches
  • High arch, rigid foot-type (poor at shock absorption)
  • Weak/tight proximal muscles around hips/glut/core. Running is solely a single-leg activity. You need good stability around your hips/gluts to keep your hips level and control the force that your leg internally rotates on ground contact.
  • Certain running gaits may increase your risk of developing shin pain – for example heel striking may increase the load on your anterior shin muscles; narrow cross-over running gait changes the angle your foot/leg strikes the ground which in turn increases the torque on your tibia and load on your shin muscles
  • Crappy, worn out shoes
  • Tight calf muscles, restricted ankle joint
  • Sudden increase in training intensity and frequency
  • Surface/ terrain

It is important to have your shin pain correctly diagnosed and treated to allow you to return to exercise and avoid needing many weeks of complete rest. Please read our Shin Pain article for more detailed information.