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Do Bow Legs Cause Shin Splints?

bow legs do not cause shin splintsThe short answer to this is no. Shin splints are caused by running on hard surfaces like road or pavement without suitable support and cushioning from runner’s shoes. Shin splints can also be quite common amongst those practicing aerobic dancing or any sports that involve running and jumping.

Since all people are different, there is no exact cause as such. Basically, the muscle between the tibia and fibula becomes fatigued due to it being called upon to repeated hold the foot in a certain position, often to increase the area of the foot in contact with the ground whilst performing the activity. Some people naturally will be more prone to the condition, whilst others will find that they only get it during certain activities.

To correct the problem, the most common measure is to use specially designed orthotics – devices which help to correct the overuse of the muscle. These can be small ankle braces or arch supports in the shoes. The person must have their gait analysed by a professional, who can then advise as to the best type of orthotic to use to correct the issues.

causes of shin splintsSince shin splints are caused by excessive strain on particular muscles, it stands to reason that there may be cases in which bow-legs predispose a person to getting shin splints.

It may be that the bow  legs cause shin splints in one particular person just from walking, whilst another may not get them at all. Bow legs are broadly similar in appearance, but since all individuals are slightly different, the effect of this bowing is consequently different for different people.

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Again, broadly speaking, bow legs can often cause irregular strain on the muscles of the legs, and on the joints of the knees, hips, and ankles. Bow legs can even be the cause of persistent neck or back pain, and tension headaches.


If you have bow legs and also suffer from shin splints, the first course of action would be to correct the bow legs, with appropriate exercise and dietary changes, and then see if the shin splints persist. At that point, it would be worth considering going to a professional to have some orthotics designed to help with the shin splints.

Bow legs are the bigger problem, and shin splints may turn out to be only a symptoms of the bow legs, so correcting the shin splints using orthotics without addressing the bow legs may do more harm than good with regard to straightening the bow legs.

This program told me exactly what NOT to do if you have bow legs.

Shin splints are a temporary injury, whereas bow legs are a systemic musculoskeletal issue and just addressing the shin splints may well be treating the symptom and not the cause. Address the bow legs first, and if the shin splints persist once the legs have been strengthened and straightened, then seek a solution to the shin splints.

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