How are Shin Splints Diagnosed?


Most diagnoses for shin splints can be made without X-rays or imaging procedures. Your doctor will perform an exam and go over your medical history. In most cases, your sports medicine specialist can determine the severity of the shin splint through hand manipulation. 

If your healthcare professional believes the condition to be more serious than shin splints, an X-ray or other imaging procedure may be required to determine if the cause of the pain is coming from another underlying source.

How are Shin Splints Treated?


Shin splints can be avoided by some simple precautionary steps:

  • Most importantly—stretch before running or exercising
  • Talk with your doctor or physical therapist about wearing the proper footwear with enough support for your arches or shock-absorbing orthotics inside your shoes
  • Talk with your sports medicine specialist about strengthening exercises for your lower legs

Some suggestions to relieve pain and hasten your recovery time include:

  • Ice the affected area several times daily for at least three days or until the pain has lessened
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen can help reduce swelling and pain 
  • Avoid extensive exercise or repetitive exercises for one to two weeks
  • Switch to low-impact exercises such as swimming or biking until your shin splints are gone
  • Rest



Generally, shin splints resolve themselves within three to four weeks with rest and reduced strenuous exercise.

Doctors recommend stretching the calf muscles to reduce the pain from shin splints.

Most people heal from shin splints within three to four weeks. However, sometimes it can take between three to six months to heal fully.

Stretching your muscles before running or working out is important to avoid injury. Avoid running on cement or hard surfaces. Avoid running on uneven surfaces such as hills. Invest in a good pair of running shoes, preferably with shock-absorbing insoles, plus good arch and heel support.

If you continue to run, you should wrap your leg from above the ankle to below the knee. Wrapping your leg may help reduce the shock pressure from running, but understand that resting your leg will enable it to heal faster. It can take up to six weeks for shin splint pain to lessen.

Get Care

Trust NewYork-Presbyterian for Shin Splint Treatment

The sports medicine specialists at NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia Orthopedics have the skill and expertise to address your concerns and treat shin splints and other sports-related injuries.

With convenient offices located throughout the New York metropolitan area—including Westchester and New Jersey—we’re here to help you heal and get back to doing what you love.