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Shin Splints

MEDIAL TIBIAL TRACTION PERIOSTITIS- submitted by Bianca Coetzee, Physiotherapist

This long, fancy medical term is better known as ‘shin splints’. Shin splints is a very vague term used by many to explain pain to the front lower leg. This term unfortunately does not specify the real reason for the pain. For example a stress fracture of the tibia can cause similar symptoms and needs to be treated differently to medial tibial traction periostitis. For ease of reference we will still refer to this condition as shin splints.


It is a pain on the inside of the lower leg next to the bone and is felt mostly in the lower third of the leg. This pain usually decreases with warming up but slowly returns after activity and is worse the next day. Repetitive loading of the soleus muscle (a muscle in your calf), leads to chronic pulling on the periosteum of the tibia which causes micro-tearing and inflammation. This is why the term medial tibial traction periostitis is a more accurate diagnosis to shin splints.


  • Flat feet
  • Training errors
  • Shoe design
  • Training surface type
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased flexibility
  • Metabolic bone health

Above mentioned factors, except bone health, contribute to higher loads on the calf muscle which increases its tightness and encourages more of a pull on the bone.


Imaging is not always accurate with this condition and it will mostly be used to rule out a stress fracture of the tibia. Clinical signs and symptoms will lead to a more accurate diagnosis.


  • Rest, ice and anti-inflammatories
  • Pain-free cross-training i.e. swimming and cycling
  • Severe cases immobilisation and reduced weight-bearing
  • Taping
  • Soft tissue therapy
  • Orthotics
  • Vacuum cupping

If shin splints have become part of your daily training routine and home remedies have not lead to any relief, it is time to give the Edson Family Chiropractic Clinic a call at 780 723 1980. We will be able to assist with orthotics, massage, cupping or physiotherapy depending on your specific needs.

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