Do you have shin splints?

It is extremely imperative you get tested by a medical professional. Not everyone has the same understanding of pain, discomfort, immobility, and other “sensations”. We are all different and our perceptions of the same thing can be wildly different. Listening to the shoe-store salesperson about shin splints and other common problems runners face is not an acceptable solution.

They did not watch you run. They do not have your medical history. They did not perform bone scans, X-rays, MRI’s, compartment syndrome testing, blood tests, etc. In short – they don’t know anything about you. But they can sell you some shoes. Go get tested by a medical professional.

Your Symptoms

Be ready to describe your symptoms in as much detail as possible.

  • How painful is the issue and what type of pain (throbbing/sharp/burning/dull)?
  • Where is the pain?
  • How long does the pain last?
  • What have you been doing to treat the symptoms when they occur?
  • What activities
Your Health History/Profile

Do you take medication? Do you have allergies? Have you had previous surgeries? Have you had previous injuries? 

Be prepaired to give a full medical profile in order to provide as much context as possible and narrow down the search for what’s really going on.

Your Activity

Be prepared to describe your daily routine and how long you have been dealing with your issues. As well as what specific activity you do when the pain occurs and how quickly do symptoms present when you are performing said activity. 

Your Diet

Be prepared to describe your regular daily diet and water intake as well. Be sure to include any supplementation and/or medications you may be taking at the time.

Your Sleep Cycle

How much sleep are you getting? What is the quality?

Your Equipment

What footwear or other gear are you wearing when you are performing the activities that bring on the symptoms?

(Bring them with you, they may ask you to perform the activity to assess your movement patterns.)

Your Desired Tests

Depending on who you are seeing, you may need to request/push to have different tests conducted. It is recommended to bring up issues such as:

  • Compartment Syndrome
  • Stress Fractures
  • Peroneal Tendinitis
  • Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome

This way you can ensure a thorough battery of tests and issues are considered. Even if the doctor is “sure it is just x” – request to have tests done to confirm.

If you can, request the tests be done simultaneously – not sequentially. You don’t want to spend weeks and months waiting for the results of one test to come in before getting something else tested. You do not want to be stuck sitting around waiting for a proper diagnosis to come in via trial and error.


What should you know before seeing a medical professional?

Graphic of a female physician.


What should you ask at or before your appointment?

It is important to qualify the medical professionals treating you. If you find out they have no experience in helping people with the issues you have, you may want to look elsewhere.

What is their experience treating people with similar issues?

What is their approach to the problem - how are they going to go about treating you?

Do they work with other professionals for different stages in your recovery and development?

How quickly do they think they can schedule you for tests should you require?


What should you ask yourself after your first appointment?

It is important to ensure you are comfortable with the physician and that you are satisfied by their approach.

Did they ask you for most/all of the information above?

Were they able to demonstrate their capability in treating your issues?

Does their approach make sense to you?

Were they resistant to testing or investigating other potential causes?

Are you comfortable with them?



Your body only heals while you sleep. We often discount sleep both in quantity and quality. It is 2021 after all and we are all “busy”. We are constantly distracted and stimulated. However, this is your health, and you owe it to yourself to sleep properly.

  • 8 hours, minimum. Yes, minimum. If sleep wasn’t a priority before, it had better be now.
  • High quality sleep. No sounds, no lights, no movement, no drugs, no alcohol, no sleep aids. You want to be able to enter REM sleep and not toss and turn all night or be prone to numerous wakeups.
  • Keep your room cool. It varies per person. Find your ideal comfort level so you can rest under blankets comfortably without sweating.
  • Dry, clean sheets. You do not want to be sweating all night, and you do not want to be sleeping in your own filth night after night.
  • Routine. Create a replicable routine in the hours before you sleep to help put you to sleep faster. Send your body/mind the right signals to sleep each night.
  • No blue light. No harsh blue light 3 hours before sleeping.
  • No sugar. No high levels of sugar 4-5 hours before sleeping.
  • No caffeine. No caffeine 6 hours before sleeping.

Take the extra time you have now that you aren't training intensely and put that directly into sleep.


Depending on your body composition and your activity during the day, your hydration needs can vary wildly. Most people live in a constant state of semi-dehydration unfortunately. They don’t drink enough, and what they are drinking isn’t always good for hydration. The issue is, when you become dehydrated you shrink and dry out. Your body also has a difficult time getting the resources through your system, thus placing further strain on your body and reducing your ability to heal efficiently. You are already in a place of strain with your injury, don’t make it worse by allowing yourself to become dehydrated.

That said, some people will take this to an extreme and try to chug a gallon of water to re-hydrate. According to Scientific American, a healthy kidney can only process 800-1,000 ml of water per hour. If you drink at this level or higher, you run the risk of water toxicity.

The key to healthy hydration is small amounts consistently throughout the day and based on your individual need (ie, you sweat a lot, you are active, dry weather, etc.). A few things to keep in mind are the color of your urine (the darker it is the more dehydrated you likely are) and a feeling of thirst. If you feel thirsty, you are already slightly dehydrated. Thirst is your body's response to an immediate need of requiring water. Dry skin and lips and very tight muscles/soreness are also signs that you need to hydrate better.


Nutrition is also critical. You need to eat clean and varied foods. Again, depending on you, you may need to avoid some foods (allergies, etc.) or eat more of others (deficiencies, etc.). You should work with a registered sports dietitian to sort out your dietary requirements.

A few hard and fast rules for nutrition – stop eating processed foods. Stop eating junk food. Eat real food that comes from nature unprocessed.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a list of “super foods” that is going to heal your shin splints for you. Just eat right for you – don’t fill your body with poison and give yourself yet another thing your body needs to fix.

DISLAIMERWe are not registered sports dietitians. We cannot legally or in good ethics provide targeted dietary advice. You should work with your physician and a registered sports dietitian to determine what is best for you. This advice is general knowledge and is by no means a direct recommendation or prescription to you. Use at your own risk.


Supplementation is also extremely helpful. You can’t get everything your body needs simply from eating. If you could, supplementation wouldn’t really exist. If you did try to get everything your body needs through eating, you would be obese from all of the excess calories you would be injesting. You would also probably gorge yourself to death.

Again, it is important to work with a registered sports dietitian to figure out what is optimal for you. You may need Vitamin B12, but not iron for example. It depends on your dietary restrictions and your deficiencies. Some general supplements you can’t really go wrong with are:

  1. Creatine
  2. Whey Protein Isolate
  3. Collagen Protein
  4. Magnesium Bisglycinate
  5. Multi-Vitamin designed for Sport

You should only buy supplements if they are evaluated by a third party for cleanliness and quality. Look for NSF or other consumer choice labels.

DISLAIMER – We are not registered sports dietitians. We cannot legally or in good ethics provide targeted dietary advice. You should work with your physician and a registered sports dietitian to determine what is best for you. This advice is general knowledge and is by no means a direct recommendation or prescription to you. Use at your own risk.

Blood Flow/Active Recovery

You’ve consumed the resources required, but your body still needs to get them to the right place. Blood flow is often overlooked in recovery. Sitting or lying down all day does not promote good health or blood flow. Yes, you need “rest and recovery” – but that doesn’t mean becoming a vegetable. Depending on what activity caused your shin splints in the first place, you can:

  1. Go for a walk a few times a day
  2. Go biking a few times a day
  3. Go swimming a few times a day

These are NOT hard training. The reason it says “a few times a day” is to encourage continuous blood flow. Doing it once in the morning is great, but it is better if you do it throughout the day to promote healthy blood flow continuously rather than for a short period of time. You will only need to go for 5-15 minutes each time.

When we say blood flow, we simply mean get your blood flowing – you  should not be sore after doing these activities. You may be disappointed in the speed and distance you can cover, but if you keep pushing yourself and breaking down again, you will live weak forever.

You don’t have to do all of these. Pick one(s) you like and that don’t aggravate your symptoms. Take it easy. You are healing an injury right now.

Mobility & Flexibility

Improving mobility and flexibility in your ankles/shins is also critical to your overall healing process. This stretching and mobility protocol will aid in the recovery and strengthening of your injury.

The idea here is to get movement into the area, assist with blood flow again, but also stretch out and work the damaged tissue in the region so it doesn’t shorten on you while you are recovering. Healthy and strong athletes have great mobility and flexibility.


In the end, it’s up to you.

It is your health and wellness. Not anyone else’s. Not the physicians. Not your coaches’, trainers’, teammates’, family’s or friend’s. It’s yours. Period. Only you can advocate for yourself in all instances. Speak up or even walk out if you are not comfortable or satisfied with the approach being given to you. There are other physicians out there. Find one you are comfortable with and that you trust.