WHAT IS IT?
The pain associated with shin splints is caused by an ankle stabilizing muscle, tibialis posterior, ripping away from its attachment to the back and inside of the tibia (shin bone). Over time, and unless properly treated, the pain worsens and small fractures form in the tibia.
Shin splints begin as diffuse pain along the inside border of the tibia. Without treatment, the pain begins to localize in the lower third of the tibia (a "stress reaction") that may eventually progress to acute and localized pain from a stress fracture.
The key is to improve calf muscle strength. Pain occurs because the tibialis posterior itself is weak, or it's being overworked because the soleus (the deep calf muscle) is not strong enough. Either way, calf-raises can strengthen both muscles.
Check out the Calf Raise Protocol and Ankle Inversion videos
Health content provided by Dr. Reed Ferber and the Running Injury Clinic