The common term ‘shinbone’ suggests there is only one bone in the lower leg, but there are two: the fibula and the tibia. The muscles of the fibula attach to the ankle and help to move the foot. The muscles on the outer side of the tibia extend over the top of the foot, and help to lift the foot and uncurl the toes. The muscles on the inner side of the tibia extend down behind the ankle and attach across the sole of the foot. These muscles help to curl the toes.
Shin splints can be caused by a number of factors working in combination. These factors include:
Exercising too hard, or trying to exercise beyond your current level of fitness, can strain muscles, tendons, bones and joints. Overuse is one of the most common causes of shin splints.
The shin muscles are involved in maintaining the instep or arch of the foot. Flat feet can pull at the shin tendons and cause slight tearing.
Poor running form, such as ‘rolling’ the feet inwards (pronation), can strain the muscles and tendons.
High impact activities
The impact of running on hard or uneven surfaces can injure the shin muscles and tendons.
Wearing the wrong type of shoe while running can contribute to shin splints.