17 Home Remedies For Shin Splints + Causes And Prevention

Medically reviewed by Dr. Sudhansu Singh, Physiotherapist
by Sucharita Mishra

One moment you are jogging, working out, or maybe just exercising. And the next moment, you experience a sharp and unbearable pain shooting up your lower leg. This may mean you have shin splints.

Shin splints is one of the most common exercise-related problems. It causes severe pain in the large bone in the lower leg called the shin bone. This condition is medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome. It is often a result of overworked muscles, tendons, and bone tissues of the shin bone. It is a common occurrence in athletes, but anybody is susceptible to it, depending on the level of physical activity they are involved in. Shin splints are also known as soleus syndrome and periostitis.

This condition, though painful, may be treated easily and effectively right at home. Are you looking for a little more information on this condition? Read on to find more about shin splints, the types, causes, symptoms, and some of the best home remedies to treat the condition.

How To Get Rid Of Shin Splints Naturally

1. Hot Or Cold Compress

Both hot and cold compresses may help in alleviating the pain and inflammation caused by shin splints (1).

You Will Need

A hot or cold compress

What You Have To Do
  1. Place a hot or cold compress on the affected area.
  2. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this every 4 hours for 5 days. 

2. Cherry Juice

Cherries contain compounds called anthocyanins that exhibit antioxidant properties (2). They also possess anti-inflammatory properties (3). Hence, cherry may be used for treating shin splints.

You Will Need

1 glass of unsweetened cherry juice

What You Have To Do

Drink a glass of cherry juice.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink this daily, especially before an intense workout session. 

3. Hot Tubs With Essential Oils

Hot water reduces inflammation (4). Essential oils are believed to provide calming effects. This may help in relieving pain from shin splints.

You Will Need
  • A tub of hot water
  • 1-2 teaspoons of any essential oil (lavender or eucalyptus oil)
What You Have To Do
  1. Prepare a hot bath.
  2. Add one to two teaspoons of any essential oil to the hot tub.
  3. Soak yourself and relax in the bath for 15 to 20 minutes.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this after every intense activity to help relax the muscles. 

4. Massage

Gently massaging the affected area on your lower leg may help relieve the pain caused by shin splints. For best results, use a warm compress prior to massaging. Warming the muscles may make the massage more effective and relieve the pain and inflammation (5), (6).

Also, it is highly recommended that you get enough rest for at least 4 to 5 days following the injury to speed up the recovery. In addition to this, you may also use a cold compress to decrease the swelling of the legs.

5. Ginger Root

Ginger exhibits anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (7). This may help reduce inflammation and swelling caused due to shin splints.

You Will Need
  • 1-2 inches of ginger root, cut into small pieces
  • A cheesecloth
  • 1 bowl of hot water
What You Have To Do
  1. Shred the ginger root into small pieces.
  2. Place the shredded ginger in a cheesecloth and soak this in a bowl of hot water for a minute.
  3. Apply this ginger compress directly to the affected shin and allow it to work for 15 to 20 minutes.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this multiple times a day (as required). 

6. Vitamin D

Vitamin D exhibits anti-inflammatory properties (8). A deficiency in this vitamin may make the human body susceptible to inflammation and swelling from injuries. Hence, it is recommended to get the right amount of vitamin D daily. Try consuming foods rich in vitamin D, such as tuna, mackerel, oranges, soy, cheese, and eggs.

Note: Consult a doctor before taking additional supplements for this condition. 

7. Epsom Salt

Epsom salt possesses anti-inflammatory properties (9). These may alleviate the pain and inflammation caused by shin splints.

You Will Need
  • 1 cup of Epsom salt
  • 1 bucket of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add Epsom salt to your bathwater in a tub or bucket.
  2. Use this water for bathing and relaxing your muscles.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this at least 3 times a week. 

8. Pickle Juice

A study showed that pickle juice could inhibit muscle cramps (10). This may make pickle juice one of the best cost-effective treatments for shin splints.

You Will Need

1/3 cup of pickle juice

What You Have To Do

Consume pickle juice before or after any intense exercise or activity.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink this juice once a day. 

9. Almonds

Almonds are natural antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory properties (11). This may help in treating the inflammation and pain caused by shin splints.

You Will Need

8-10 almonds

What You Have To Do
  1. Soak the almonds in water overnight.
  2. Remove the peel the next day and consume directly or blend them with milk.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1-2 times a day. 

10. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is touted to have anti-inflammatory properties. This may help in treating shin splints.

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 glass of water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add about one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water. Mix well.
  2. Add honey and consume this mixture daily.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a day. 

11. Turmeric

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin that exhibits powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (12).  This may help in the treatment of shin splints.

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the turmeric powder with enough water to make a thick paste.
  2. Apply this paste on the affected area.
  3. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, after which you can wash it off with warm water.
  4. Additionally, you can also consume turmeric with a glass of hot milk daily.
How Often You Should Do This

You can follow this procedure 1-2 times a day. 

12. Pineapple

Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain. This enzyme possesses anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (13). Hence, pineapples may help treat shin splints and its symptoms.

You Will Need
  • 1 cup of pineapples
  • 1 cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Blend the pineapples with water.
  2. Alternatively, you can also simply chew on a few pieces of pineapple.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a day. 

13. Valerian Root

Valerian roots have many pharmacological activities like anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antispasmodic properties (14). This may help the muscles of the shin to relax and reduce the pain.

You Will Need
  • 1-2 teaspoons of valerian root
  • 1 cup of water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add valerian root to a cup of water.
  2. Bring this to a boil in a saucepan.
  3. Add honey for flavor and consume this before it turns cold.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2-3 times a day. 

14. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil possesses analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties (15). This makes coconut oil a natural pain reliever. Thus, coconut oil may help in getting rid of shin splints.

You Will Need

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

What You Have To Do
  1. Rub some coconut oil between your palms.
  2. Gently massage this oil onto the affected area.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this multiple times a day. 

15. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper (Capsicum annuum) contains capsaicin, which exhibits analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties (16). This may help in treating shin splints.

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 glass of warm water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add about one teaspoon of cayenne pepper to a glass of warm water.
  2. Consume this daily.
  3. You can also add honey to this solution for taste.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1-2 times a day. 

16. Milk

Milk contains vitamin D that possesses anti-inflammatory properties (17). This may help treat the inflammation and swelling caused by shin splints. Additionally, milk also contains calcium, which is good for maintaining healthy bones (18).

You Will Need

1 glass of milk

What You Have To Do

Consume a glass of milk.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1-2 times a day. 

17. Bananas

Bananas are a rich source of potassium. Potassium has anti-inflammatory properties (19). This may help in treating muscle inflammation that occurs due to shin splints.

You Will Need

1-2 bananas

What You Have To Do

Eat a banana or two daily.

How Often You Should Do This

Consume them on a daily basis.

All these remedies are beneficial in the treatment of shin splints. However, taking some precautions may aid faster recovery. Following the tips given below, along with the remedies, may help avoid the recurrence of the condition altogether.

Preventing Shin Splints

  • Indulge in exercises that may strengthen the legs, ankles, and hips.
  • Analyze the movements and find out whether any specific movement is causing the development of shin splints.
  • Practice yoga stretches that involve stretching the hamstrings and calves that may help to lengthen the shin and relieve the pain from shin splints.
  • Increase the intake of foods rich in vitamins D and K and calcium, such as cheese, milk, yogurt, sardines, mushrooms, and kimchi.
  • Get enough rest to relieve the pain in the shins before the next exercise or workout session.
  • Wear the right size of shoes.
  • Wear shock-absorbing insoles to reduce the impact of shin splints.
  • Use KT tapes to relieve the pressure and strain on the shin muscles.

Shin splints are the result of overworked and inflamed muscles. Listed below are the common causes of this condition.

Common Causes Of Shin Splints

The pain in the shin may be due to the following reasons:

  • Stress Fracture: Repeated stress to the shin bone may result in a small fracture. This fracture, which is an overuse injury, is referred to as stress fracture.
  • Compartment Syndrome: The lower leg is made of several muscle compartments, which may become inflamed due to overuse or direct impact injury. This condition is usually referred to as compartment syndrome, and it may also be one of the reasons for the pain in the shins.

Other causes of shin splints are:

  • Excessive amounts of force or pressure against your shin bone
  • Analytical abnormality such as flat foot syndrome
  • Improper training
  • Running on uneven terrain
  • Using worn-out shoes
  • A sudden increase in the duration or intensity of exercising

Shin splints are also accompanied by mild to moderate symptoms. They are as listed below.

Symptoms Of Shin Splints

  • Lower leg pain
  • Pain while exercising
  • Pain on one or both sides of the shin bone
  • Muscle pain
  • A feeling of tenderness or soreness along the inner leg
  • Weak and numb feet
  • Swelling in the lower leg

Including these natural remedies in your daily regimen may prove to be of great help if you are looking for a quick fix for a minor swelling or pain around your shin. However, consult a doctor immediately if the pain becomes intolerable.

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

How to treat shin splints during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, shin splints may be treated naturally with the remedies mentioned above. However, pregnant women may also follow the tips mentioned below to get relief:

    • Elevate your legs as often as you can.
    • Sleep on your side.
    • Consume plenty of fluids.
    • Keep a check on your weight.
    • Indulge in gentle exercises.
    • Use a cold compress on the affected area.

How long does it take for shin splints to heal?

The pain that accompanies shin splints usually vanishes in 3 to 4 weeks. Nevertheless, shin splints may take 3 to 6 months to heal completely.

18 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

Recommended Articles

Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.

Sucharita Mishra

Sucharita Mishra has a Master’s degree in Biotechnology and specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. She has worked on determining various heavy metals present in green tea for her Master’s dissertation at CSIR- CFTRI, Mysuru. After completing her degree, Sucharita decided to pursue her passion for writing. She is addicted to all things black and aspires to become a bat one day.
scorecardresearch