Anterior Shin Splints and Overstriding

Last week, we discussed the several locations of the lower leg that the term “shin splints” may be applied to. When trying to relieve the pain from “shin splints,” it is important to evaluate the multiple causes.

Anterior shin splints common involve pain on the front of the shin, slightly toward the outside half of the shin. There is a muscle here that is responsible for slowing down how fast your toes hit the ground after striking the ground with your heel.

If you are involved in a running sport, and have this pain be sure to check your running technique. Overstriding (your heel hitting infront of the line of your knee) may be provoking the problem (picture of runner in red shirt below). This can be corrected by speeding up your running cadence so that you land with your foot closer to the line of your knee on each running step (picture of runner in blue shirt below). You will likely also notice that you might land more on the hindfoot, midfoot, or even forefoot instead of striking so hard with your heel.

As with any injury, start with RICE, and have the injury appropriately evaluated and treated before you start working on sports drills like running. There are many causes for pain in this area of the shin, and they are not always muscular. Another very common possibility includes bone fractures. Once your shins are feeling better, check out your running technique and see how your foot hits the ground.OSR Physical Therapy does offer professional running analysis at all 3 of its locations.