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Can You Run With Shin Splints?

Learn about the dangers of running with shin splints, whether or not running can make shin splints worse, and how to prevent shin splints.

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By Janik Sundstrom
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Published February 28, 2022.

Shin splints are commonly associated with overuse injuries of the lower leg. Shin pain and inflammation arise from muscles of the lower leg, putting increased tension on the attachment to the tibia bone under repetitive stress scenarios.

Increased tension loaded onto the connective tissue, tibia, and muscles of the lower leg over time is the main mechanism of injury. This condition is commonly seen in athletes and members of the military who may be putting repeated stress on the bones of the lower leg without shoes that can provide sufficient cushioning.

Do Shin Splints Get Worse if You Keep Running?

Continuing to exercise and applying repeated stress onto the structures mentioned in the lower leg will further worsen symptoms of shin splints. In severe cases of shin splints, stress fractures can occur that require medical attention. 

Rest, ice, and reducing exercise frequency are important in reducing acute symptoms of shin splints. Tapering back from exercise until the pain has subsided completely, along with rehabilitation and stretches, would be best to prevent long-term complications.

How Prevent Shin Splints

Making use of orthotics may provide the support and cushioning that you need to help you relieve your shin pain in conditions such as flat feet. The insoles will support the arch through repeated load-bearing activities, even when the lower leg muscles tire. You could also make use of compression socks that provide increased oxygen and blood flow to the lower leg area.

Make sure to always warm up and stretch before partaking in an exercise activity and remember that the cooldown is just as important. Gentle self-massage can be applied to the muscles on either side of the shinbone and calf muscle. Always attempt to exercise safely and consult with a medical practitioner should any adverse symptoms arise.