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  • Writer's pictureLuke Nelson

4 tips for running with shin pain

Shin pain is common in runners, in this blog we cover our top 4 tips to keep you running!

Firstly, we advise you to get a DIAGNOSIS for your shin pain, as there can be a variety of conditions that can cause shin pain, including some things that should NOT be run through. Read our previous blog here on what could be causing shin pain.

The most common cause of shin pain is medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), so here are our 4 tips to keep you running with this condition:

1. Avoid running uphill

Whilst vertical impact peak forces & tibial acceleration are higher during DOWNHILL running (Gottschall 2005, Telhan 2010, Chu 2004), it is actually the muscle contraction that causes the greatest strain on the shin bone (tibia). (Vernillo 2017). Running uphill requires greater muscle contraction & might be best avoided with MTSS. (Matijevich 2019)

2. Increase your step rate (cadence) 5-10%

If you have a cadence below 170 you might benefit from increasing your cadence a small amount, between 5-10%.

Increasing cadence can result in a number of changes including:

  • decreasing ankle dorsiflexion at midstance (Lenhart 2013)

  • decreasing peak tibial acceleration (Clarke 1985, Hamill 1995, Mercer 2003)

  • decreasing tibial contact forces (Edwards 2009)

  • increasing step width (Bui 2016)

3. Increase your step width

Slightly increasing your step width by a few centimeters can change a number of things including:

  • decreases peak rearfoot eversion (Pohl 2006, Brindle 2013)

  • decreases peak internal ankle inversion moment (Brindle 2013)

  • decreases anterior tension, posterior compression and medial compression of the tibia (Pohl 2006)

  • decreases shear stress on the anterior, posterior, medial and lateral tibia (Pohl 2006)

4. Reduce impact forces on landing

Various cues can be used to help reduce impact loading variables which have been shown to reduce impact on the shin bone (tibia). (Crowell 2011, Clansey 2013, Creaby 2016, Sharma 2014)

Try running quietly, or pretend you are running on hot coals.

If you need further assistance with your shin pain, please don't hesitate to contact us!


  • Brindle, R. A., et al. (2013). "Changing step width alters lower extremity biomechanics during running." Gait Posture.

  • Chu, J. J. and G. E. Caldwell (2004). "Stiffness and Damping Response Associated with Shock Attenuation in Downhill Running." Journal of Applied Biomechanics 20(3): 291.

  • Clarke, T. E., et al. (1985). "The effect of varied stride rate upon shank deceleration in running." J Sports Sci 3(1): 41-49.

  • Clansey, A. C., et al. (2013). "Influence of Tibial Shock Feedback Training on Impact Loading and Running Economy." Med Sci Sports Exerc.

  • Creaby, M. W. and M. M. Franettovich Smith (2016). "Retraining running gait to reduce tibial loads with clinician or accelerometry guided feedback." J Sci Med Sport 19(4): 288-292.

  • Crowell, H. P. and I. S. Davis (2011). "Gait retraining to reduce lower extremity loading in runners." Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) 26(1): 78-83.

  • Edwards, W. B., et al. (2009). "Effects of stride length and running mileage on a probabilistic stress fracture model." Med Sci Sports Exerc 41(12): 2177-2184.

  • Gottschall, J. S. and R. Kram (2005). "Ground reaction forces during downhill and uphill running." J Biomech 38(3): 445-452.

  • Hamill, J., et al. (1995). "Shock attenuation and stride frequency during running." Human Movement Science 14(1): 45-60.

  • Lenhart, R. L., et al. (2013). "Increasing Running Step Rate Reduces Patellofemoral Joint Forces." Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise

  • Matijevich, E. S., et al. (2019). "Ground reaction force metrics are not strongly correlated with tibial bone load when running across speeds and slopes: Implications for science, sport and wearable tech." PLoS One 14(1): e0210000.

  • Mercer, J. A., et al. (2003). "Individual effects of stride length and frequency on shock attenuation during running." Med Sci Sports Exerc 35(2): 307-313.

  • Pohl, M. B., et al. (2006). "Changes in foot and lower limb coupling due to systematic variations in step width." Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) 21(2): 175-183.

  • Sharma, J., et al. (2014). "Gait Retraining and Incidence of Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome in Army Recruits." Med Sci Sports Exerc.

  • Telhan, G., et al. (2010). "Lower limb joint kinetics during moderately sloped running." J Athl Train 45(1): 16-21.

  • Vernillo, G., et al. (2017). "Biomechanics and Physiology of Uphill and Downhill Running." Sports Med 47(4): 615-629

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