There are many ways to treat and prevent shin splints. We shall be looking at one of the most effective solutions—using insoles. Our main focus areas will be shin splints, what to look for in an insole, and reviews of the best insoles for shin splints. Keep scrolling for more information.
Looking for the best insoles for shin splints and other leg pains? Check out our detailed reviews of the top products and everything else you need to know about shin splints.
What Are Shin Splints?
Shin splints or medial tibial stress syndrome is a condition that’s caused when you overwork muscles, tendons, and bone tissue around the shinbone (tibia.) Some of the symptoms to look out for include soreness, tenderness, and pain inside your shinbone. In some cases, there will be inflammation in your lower leg.
You’re likely to experience shin splints if:
- You have flat feet or arches that are too high and rigid.
- You’re using inappropriate shoes to work out.
- You have weak ankles and hips.
- You’re just starting a running program.
- You run on hard surfaces and uneven terrain.
- You’re practicing bad training habits.
- You suddenly intensify your physical exercise activities.
Runners, dancers, and military recruits are easily the most diagnosed groups. Fortunately, there are several home remedies for shin splints that will save you from visiting the doctor.
Treating and Preventing Shin Splints
Shin splints are easy to diagnose, treat, and prevent. Unless you are dealing with a very severe case, there would be no need to visit a doctor. Here are some of the best home remedies to help relieve the pain.
- Rest: A good rest should help your legs heal from shin splints within a few hours or days. It depends on the severity of the pain. You can switch to less strenuous activities like walking and swimming during the healing period. Place your leg on an elevated surface like a pillow while relaxing to minimize the load.
- Ice: Use ice packs on your shin for 20–30 minutes in a period of 3–4 hours. Do this for 3–4 days to ease the pain and swelling. Ideally, you can stop when your leg feels better.
- Compression: Get elastic compression bandages to curb the swelling.
- Medication: Over the counter, anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin will minimize pain and swelling.
- Choose the right shoes: For runners, consider replacing your footwear after every 350 to 500 miles.
- Arch support: People with flat arches should use arch support to prevent the pain caused by shin splints.
- Stretch: Stretch your lower leg muscles before running or exercising. You could also buy a foam roller for massaging the shins.
- Orthotics: Using orthotics and shock-absorbing insoles will help stabilize your feet and ankle, freeing your lower leg from stress.
- Avoid hard surfaces: Avoid exercising, dancing, or running on hard surfaces like concrete for long hours.
- Build up workouts: When you get back to exercising, build the intensity, frequency, and duration of the workout gradually.
You will know the shin splint has healed when you don’t feel pain while running or jumping, and if both legs have regained their flexibility, The healing period varies significantly. It depends on what caused the shin splints and the measures taken to get better. Severe cases could last as long as 6 months.
If the situation doesn’t improve or keeps recurring, you should consider visiting a physical therapist for proper diagnosis and treatment solutions. Surgery may be recommended to help ease the pain.
What To Look for in the Best Insoles for Shin Splints
There are many insoles for shin splints available. They vary significantly in terms of design and material used to manufacture the product. Their effectiveness in preventing shin splints, and other injuries, will depend on your type of feet.
That being said, here are factors to consider when looking for the best insoles for shin splints.
For arch support to be effective, the insole must fit perfectly. In fact, it should align with the shape of your feet to provide firm and snug support.
The insoles should be strong and flexible to withstand rigorous and lengthy activities while protecting your shin.
Deep Heel Cups
Deep heel cups help to stabilize your feet, providing proper cushioning for shock absorption.
A good-quality material will be kind to your feet. If it absorbs moisture and doesn’t cause friction in your feet, then you can be sure of maximum comfort for a long time. An antimicrobial material provides additional value by preventing fungi infestations.
Our Top 6 Best Insoles for Shin Splints 2021
To help you get the right insoles for shin splints, we’ve identified the top products from different brands and reviewed their best attributes and shortcomings.
Coming from a popular footwear brand—Dr. Scholl’s running insoles are designed to prevent shin splints, runner’s knee, and plantar fasciitis. Even though they’re made with the athletes in mind, they can also be used with everyday shoes.
With their triple-zone protection at the ball of the foot, arch, and heel, you get up to 40 percent shock absorption when running, jumping, or just walking. Deep heel cups cushion your feet against impact, while reinforced arches help provide balance.
When it comes to size, the small men’s insoles range between 7.5 and 10, while large sizes fall within 10.5 and 14. The women’s sizes are between 5.5 and 9. In case you don’t find an exact fit, buy a size higher and trim. The material can be cut easily to match the required size.
The Sweat Max technology ensures feet always stay dry and fresh, curbing foot odor.
To prove their level of confidence in this product, the company has a 90-day money-back guarantee for anybody who isn’t satisfied.
The only downsides are the sole’s thickness, which may make it hard to fit inside shallow shoes, and some people find the cushioning at the front to be insufficient.
- Easy to trim with regular scissors to fit your shoe.
- Sweat Max technology controls foot odor.
- Has a deep heel cup.
- Good shock absorption.
- Three-month money-back guarantee.
- Too thick; might not fit comfortably inside a shallow shoe.
- Insufficient cushioning at the front.
Ninjas Orthotic Inserts have a slim, lightweight design that comfortably fits in shallow and deep footwear. In fact, you could easily slide them on top of the original insoles and wear the shoe with both insoles. No cutting or trimming is needed.
Having been designed by a leading podiatrist, these insoles cover all the right bases for foot support and comfort. They help prevent and heal shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and other foot conditions. The arch support will leave your feet feeling great after a long walk.
Men’s sizes are between 4 and 16.5, while those for women range from 6 to 13.5. There’s a 60-day money-back guarantee if you don’t like the product.
- Easy to use with shoes that don’t have removable insoles.
- Thin and lightweight design.
- Two-month money-back guarantee.
- Effective heel and arch support.
- Insoles slip when not fitted under the factory insoles.
Superior quality materials, high arch support, and diverse functionality are what you get with Physix Gear Sport Full Length Orthotic Inserts. They’re practical, comfortable, safe, and highly durable. Foot and heel conditions like shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, runner’s knee, and flat feet do not stand a chance with these insoles.
They have deep heels that provide adequate stability while walking, exercising, rock climbing, or standing for long hours. The delicate fabric keeps your feet snug and cushions the heel on hard surfaces. Their ultra-thin design makes it possible to fit the insoles inside any shoes.
Physix Gear Sport Full Length Orthotic Inserts are perfectly designed to deal with foot pain and discomfort. The non-slip heels hold the insoles in place throughout the day, and the extra toe box space works perfectly for people with big feet.
With sizes ranging from 3 to 14.5 for men and 5 to 16.5 for women, it would be hard not to find the perfect fit.
- Wide range of sizes for diverse foot sizes.
- Strong arch support.
- Non-slip heels.
- Superior, cushioned fabric.
- Can be trimmed.
- Might not fit in some shoe sizes.
The SmartSole Exercise Insoles three-quarter-length design comes with ample arch support, deep heel cups, and a medical-grade gel insert that offers the following functions:
- Shock absorption.
- Foot stabilization.
- Even distribution of impact when walking, running, or exercising.
These features help keep your feet snug, reduce fatigue, and relieve pressure on the foot joint. The insoles can be used for sneakers, work boots, and casual boots too. They will protect your feet all day.
They also have an antimicrobial, breathable fabric known to reduce heat and friction, keeping your feet cool, dry, and healthy. There’s a nylon shell that provides additional support when running, walking, or standing.
As they’re three quarter length insoles, trimming and cutting to size won’t be necessary. They fit well in most shoe sizes.
Speaking of sizes, they’re available in small, medium, and large sizes. The men sizes start from 7.5 to 13, while women sizes range from 5.5 to 11.5+. Since you can’t trim or cut the insoles, you should ensure you pick the right size to avoid inconveniences.
- Provides maximum shock absorption and comfort for your feet.
- Arch support ensures proper balance.
- No need to trim.
- Antimicrobial, breathable fabric keeps your feet comfortable and healthy.
- Might be too thick to fit in certain shoes
- Can’t be trimmed to fit.
Deep heel cups, arch support, and metatarsal risers are features that make it possible for Stridetek Tactical Trainer Orthotic Insoles to relieve various foot pains, shin splints, metatarsalgia, and Morton’s neuroma. The difference with this insole is that its polyurethane arch support aligns with the foot’s natural contour, so you’re sure to get a better grip, which results in great balance.
The metatarsal riser support pad helps minimize forefoot pain by resisting over-pronation (rolling inward of the ankles.) Lastly, you have the anti-bacterial, non-latex material, which eliminates moisture to maintain a cool and dry environment for healthy and blister-free feet.
Men’s insoles start from size 3.5 to 12, while women’s cover sizes 4.5 to 13. It’s advisable for those with half sizes to order up. Fortunately, you can trim to the required size.
- Thirty-day money-back guarantee.
- Helps guard against overpronation (the ankles rolling inward.)
- Protects your feet against harmful bacteria and odor.
- Soft, rigid arch. Firm support and comfort.
- Relieves foot pain.
- They squeak and move in some shoes.
- Can be uncomfortable with shoes that are a bit tight.
These insoles have the softest cushioning out of the six on this list. High-density memory foam is guaranteed to protect your feet and provide quality comfort throughout the day. Whether you’re walking or standing on hard surfaces for long periods, you will hardly experience any pain or pressure.
They’re available in small, medium, and large sizes, which start at 4 to 12 for men and 5 to 14 for women.
- High-density memory foam that cushions your feet from pain.
- Easy to trim.
- Very comfortable.
- They may be too thick to fit in tight shoes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Shin Splints Dangerous?
Usually, shin splints aren’t regarded as dangerous to an individual since a simple rest could ease the pain. However, when the pain doesn’t subside after trying different treatment and prevention measures, like refraining from exercises and using insoles, you must visit a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
You may be dealing with stress fractures that would require professional treatment.
How Long Does It Take To Heal Shin Splints?
A few days of rest, a month of wearing orthotic insoles, 6 months of no exercise—it all depends on the severity of your shin splints and treatment options you’re using. If you do everything right, then you should feel better within days.
Nevertheless, it’s common for certain people to deal with the condition for months. You should never rush your treatment and always consult a doctor when the situation seems to get worse.
Which Exercises Can Help To Prevent Shin Splints?
Step on a towel or piece of clothing with one leg. Your legs should be slightly apart. Using the toes of your right foot, try to hold the towel and pull it towards you. Release it and do this 10 to 15 times before changing to the left leg.
Stand on a raised surface and place your right toes on the edge of that surface. Bend your left knee, shift your body weight to the right leg, and lower the right heel below the raised surface. Raise your body to the starting point. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps, then shift to the other leg.
Point and Flex
Stand upright and place your hands on your hips. Lift either your right or left leg and stretch it in front of you. Now flex your toes towards you then away from you in successive motions. Repeat this 10 to 15 times.
While standing straight with your feet together and arms stretched on the side, stand on your toes and start moving. Move the right leg and land on your heel first, roll to midfoot, and then toes. Step with the left foot in a similar sequence and take around 10 to 15 steps.
Is It Ok To Walk With Shin Splints?
No, it is not. Though shin splints aren’t a dangerous condition, they can render you immobile for a while if you don’t treat them. Give your leg ample time to fully recover before you consider walking around, running, or engaging in high-impact exercises. These activities put more strain on the leg, worsening the condition.
Dealing with foot conditions such as shin splints doesn’t require much. Especially when it’s easy to diagnose, treat, and prevent (unless you’re dealing with an extreme case of shin splints.) You simply need to know the situations that result in shin splints and work on avoiding or limiting those situations.
Insoles are known to do a remarkable job of healing and curbing shin splints, and it’s imperative that you shop for the best product. The six best insoles for shin splints mentioned above will do a good job of keeping your feet comfortable, safe, and pain-free. However, our personal best would be Dr. Scholl’s running insoles.
Even though the name profiles them as sports insoles, they work perfectly well in other types of footwear. Namely work boots and casual shoes. The triple-zone protection spreads the load of cushioning your feet, minimizing stress and pressure on your leg.
Shin splints and other leg pains shouldn’t stand between you and basic activities like walking. Not when a good insole is all you need to get you back on your feet.