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Shin Splints!  I Think I Have Them?

Many people email me each week and complain about pain below the knee.  This is usually accompanied by starting a running program or running too much, too soon, and too fast. These pains are more than likely shin splints, but could be Compartment Syndrome or a stress fracture. This diagnosis will require a doctor's opinion and is much more serious than shin splints.  But, if you can take a few days off of running and the pain is not evident while walking, it is likely shin splints.  If any pain persists more than a few weeks it is advised to see a doctor as you could be doing further damage to your shins which will take several months to heal.

I get all my information about shins splints and other running injuries at On his shin splint page he states, "
Decrease training immediately. Do not run if pain occurs during or following your run. Non-weight bearing exercise may be necessary. Swimming, biking, and pool running can all be used to maintain fitness."  See Running with Pain Options

"While running on soft surfaces has been recommended for this problem, that is not likely to help a pure shin splint. The foot is more likely to pronate excessively on mushy grass or sand. Packed dirt is ideal, and avoidance of concrete is also helpful. In many cases shoes that are rated high for control of pronation may be helpful. Gentle posterior stretching exercises may help, but control of pronation is more directly related to the cause of this syndrome. Ice applications following running may offer some relief, but are not curative. If symptoms persist it is important to seek professional medical attention."   He continues on his Shin Splint page, " The key factors to correct will be: 

  • Tight posterior muscles
  • Imbalance between the posterior and anterior muscles
  • Running on concrete or other hard surfaces
  • Improper Shoes - inadequate shock protection
  • Overtraining

For more information on shin splints, stress fractures, ITB, PFS, plantar fasciitis, and many other running issues that occur see Dr. Pribut - The Running Doctor.

When starting to run again, do NOT start off where you left off.  the last thing you need to do is go for a 5 mile run after a few weeks of not running.  Start easy with a beginner running plan even if you can handle more intense workouts.  I recommend supplementing non impact aerobics like swimming, rowing, biking, elliptical gliding with your shorter runs for the first few weeks of running again. See idea at Running Options

Learn how to foam roll as well - see Myo-facsia Release.  I use the foam roller everyday to roll out the shins, IT bands, lower / upper back, as well as hips and glutes.  This tool is a must have for the active person.  I have discovered however, if you use a foam roller everyday that within a month, the foam has lost its hardness and is not as effective.   


Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the
Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at


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Published Books / DVDs

Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness (Book / DVD)
Maximum Fitness

The Special Operations Workout

The SWAT Workout - From Recruit to SWAT Team Member
The Combat Swimmer Stroke DVD

The Pre-Habit Workout DVD

The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks:

Fitness for All Levels of Fitness

The 90 Day Beginner Guide to Fitness
The Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program

Reclaim Your Life - The Erin O'Neill Program

Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach

The Busy Executive Workout Routine
The Advanced Weights / PT Workout (Fall / Winter Weight Gain Cycle)
The Perfect Pushup Workout

The TRX Workout
NEW - Circuit Training 101 ebook
NEW Obstacle Course Race Ebook


The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts
 Combat Conditioning Workout

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1  Beginner Weeks 1-9
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT -  Four weeks before Hell Week

Navy SWCC Workout

The Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout 

The Army Air Assault School Workout

The Army Airborne Workout

Air Force PJ / CCT Workout

The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Workout

The OCS, ROTC, Service Academy, & Bootcamp Workouts

Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard OCS Workout
The USMC IST and PFT Workout
USMC OCS / TBS Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Bootcamp Workout

The Army OCS and PFT Workout
The NEW Army PRT and Combat Readiness Test Workout
The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts

The FBI Academy / PFT Prep Workout

The DEA Prep Workout

The FLETC Prep Workout - Ace the PEB

The State / Local Police Academy Workout

The Fire Fighter Workout

Why a 52 Week Workout Cycle?

  Seal Multi Men's Multi-Vitamin Multi-Mineral

Become a TRX Trainer   

 TRX Train Like the Pros


Some Titles Above available in Print Softcover Format




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