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Does Pronation Cause Shin Splints?

Shin splint1 is a painful condition marked on the front bone (shin bone) of lower leg due to overdoing exercises or repetitive strenuous activities. It can develop in both the legs due to stress on the muscles and other connective tissues around the shin bone. Over pronation or flat feet syndrome2 can trigger shin splints. Its symptoms are pain during and after exercises in between the knee and foot occasionally with swelling, numbness, and weakness in the feet. It improves by itself if the provoking activities are stopped. Complete recovery from shin splints can be achieved with rest and treatment. It can get worse if strenuous activities are continued.

Does Pronation Cause Shin Splints?

Does Pronation Cause Shin Splints?3

Pronation is a natural movement of the foot when you walk or run. It is the inward or sideways movement of the foot while walking or running. The foot tends to roll inwards with every step. It is important to absorb the shock while walking.

The role of pronation in walking or running-

  • As soon as the foot touches the ground, the arch of the foot gets flattens. This provides a cushion to the foot against shock.
  • Pronation also helps to shift the weight of the body to the outside of the foot.
  • Normal pronation helps the arch to rise and stiffen to gain stability while walking or running.
  • The fingers of toe help in achieving normal gait as toes (big and second) help in the push off and others assist in stabilization.
  • Muscles like anterior tibialis, extensor digitorium longus and extensor hallicus longus support during pronation to stabilize and cushion the foot while walking or running.

Overpronation can cause shin splints, not the normal pronation. Each step causes inward and downward rolling of the ankle away from the body at a significant angle. If this continues, the toes start to push off. Big toe and second toe participate in push off and the foot tends to twist more in every step.

Overpronation develops more in people with flat feet syndrome. It increases strain on the big toe and second toe. This leads to the instability of the foot. The increased twisting of the foot leads to more stress on the tibia bone by increased rotation of the bone. This happens when the movement of the foot is increased. This leads to increased friction on the foot resulting in shin splints and pain in the knees.

Overpronation also leads to excess stress and tightness to the muscles of the lower leg.

Overpronation also increases the risk of injury and pain in the heel which elevates the pressure on the tendons and ligaments around the foot. Specially designed motion control shoes, orthotics, and insoles can rectify the foot motion in such conditions.

Shin splint is a condition marked by infrequent pain in the font of the lower leg at the shin bone. The pain lies in between the knee and ankle in the lower leg. This condition is also called medial tibial stress syndrome. It can appear in both the legs. The pain is not always present and is not severe all the time. It is usually felt during exercises only. It is caused by overdoing exercises especially running or repetitive weight-bearing activities such as basketball, tennis, etc. Its symptoms are pain and occasionally swelling on the shin bone in between knees and ankles. It is not a serious condition and may improve well when rested well and the provoking activities are avoided. However, if the strenuous activities are continued, it may result in severe pain.


Shin splints are caused due to stress on the tibia (front bone of lower leg), muscles and other connective tissue around the tibia. This results in pain and swelling during exercises. Pronation helps to stabilize the feet while walking or running. Overpronation can cause shin splints as it contributes to the stress on the tissues around the shin.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 23, 2020

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