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Alleviating Shin Splints with Physical Therapy

Shin splints are very common among runners and dancers.
“Shin splint” is the general term for pain around the bones at the front of your leg from ankle to knee.
Imagine this. You come home after a long workout session at the gym feeling amazing. You feel excruciating pain shooting upward towards your knee. The muscles down your legs feel tender and sore, resulting in shin splints.
Your environment, shoe, and activity level can result in shin splints. Many of us experience shin splints. “Bone alignment, the laxity in the joints, the way you’re put together” said Milwaukee Ballet, Dr. William Raasch.
Runners and dancers often put repeated stress on their lower legs. They are in at a greater risk for shin splints due to the intensity of their workout.
  • Sudden increase and/or intensity you exercise can cause irritated and swollen muscles.
  • Changing the surface they perform on – such as, shifting from a soft to hard surface can also lead to shin splints.
  • Dancers’ and runners’ shoes may not provide much cushioning or proper arch support.
  • Individuals with flat feet often experience overpronation. When the foot rolls inward, flattening the arch, this causes the lower leg to rotate inward. Overpronation increases stress on the soft tissues of the lower leg. Often resulting in intense pain and inflammation.
Shin splint symptoms occur overtime. If you do have a shin splint, some of the symptoms include:
  • Leg/foot muscle pain.
  • Dull pain in the lower part of the leg between the ankle and knee.
  • Pain on either side of the shin bone.
  • Tenderness and soreness along the inner part of the lower leg.
  • Mild swelling in the lower leg.
  • Numbness and weakness in the feet.
Depending on the condition of the shin splints, treatments and recovery time may vary. Consider these physical therapy options for faster recovery from pain due to intense exercise:
  • Rest. Avoid running, jumping, dancing or any activity that may make the symptoms worse. Find alternatives such as swimming, cycling and yoga.
  • Protect and support the shin splint by wearing a sleeve or compression support. It will help keep the muscles warm and support the inflamed tissues to help them heal.
  • Stretch out your muscles. It helps increase blood flow to the muscles. Flexibility exercises can improve your performance and help decrease risks of injuries.
Remember to always do stretches and warm up your body before you do any kind of physical activity. Wear shoes with good cushion and arch support to protect your feet. Consider dancing and/or running on recommended surfaces.
When you take care of your body, it will thank you for it!


Moriarty Physical Therapy is a premier physical therapy center located in New York’s Hudson Valley. To find out more about physical therapy or to book your first appointment with a physical therapist, contact Moriarty Physical Therapy at (845) 454-4137 or visit their website

Schedule a FREE 15-minute Exploration Visit

Come visit one of our physical therapy clinics in New York or North Carolina and one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy will do a 15-minute consultation to see if physical therapy is right for you. In the consultation, we’ll help determine the source of pain and movement restrictions to see if you would benefit from physical therapy or might need the assistance of another healthcare professional. If so, we’ll make a referral and help speed up achieving your health goal.

You have nothing to lose; the screening is free! And if physical therapy could help you, we can perform the examination right then–even without a prescription–with Direct Access (covered by insurance).

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