Know Your Shin Pain

December 10, 2018 | By | Reply

The term “shin splints” refers to pain along the inner edge of the shinbone (bone between knee and ankle)


Shin splints is an inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue around your shinbone. Pain typically occurs along the inner border of the tibia, where muscles attach to the bone.

Shin splints often occur after sudden changes in physical activity. These can be changes in frequency, such as increasing the number of days you exercise each week. Changes in duration and intensity, such as running longer distances or on hills, can also cause shin splints.

Other factors that contribute to shin splints include:

  • Having flat feet
  • Exercising with improper or worn-out footwear

Runners are at highest risk for developing shin splints


The most common symptom of shin splints is pain along the border of the tibia. Mild swelling in the area may also occur. Shin splint pain may be dull and throbbing, occurring both during and after exercise. There can be soreness on touching the spot


Diagnosis of shin splint is mainly clinical. Other causes of shin pain need to be ruled out.

Other causes of shin pain can be stress fractures, or compartment syndrome.

Compartment syndrome: a swelling of muscles within a closed compartment—which creates pressure. The symptoms include leg pain, unusual nerve sensations, and eventually muscle weakness. To diagnose this condition, special techniques are used to measure the amount of pressure. Sometimes surgical “decompression” is required.

Stress fracture: The worse the symptoms get and the more you don’t pay attention to them, the more likely you are to turn a stress injury into a full-blown stress fracture .Muscle soreness and stiffness can progress during this period, and a pinpoint pain may develop in the area of the sore bone. Imaging tests like bone scan and MRI help to diagnose it but always check with your doctor for the diagnosis and treatment.



  • Rest. Because shin splints are typically caused by overuse, standard treatment includes several weeks of rest from the activity that caused the pain. Lower impact types of aerobic activity can be substituted during your recovery, such as swimming, using a stationary bike, or an elliptical trainer.
  • Ice. Use cold packs for 10-15 minutes at a time, several times a day. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
  • Compression. Wearing an elastic compression bandage may prevent additional swelling.
  • Supportive shoes. Wearing shoes with good cushioning during daily activities will help reduce stress in your shins.
  • Orthotics. People who have flat feet or recurrent problems with shin splints may benefit from orthotics. Shoe inserts can help align and stablize your foot and ankle, taking stress off of your lower leg.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. Drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen reduce pain and swelling.

If your shin splints do not improve after rest and other methods described above, be sure to see an orthopedician or a physiotherapist to determine other causes of shin pain


There are things you can do to prevent shin splints.

  • Wear a proper fitting athletic shoe: to maintain proper arches in the foot
  • Strengthening your feet, ankles, calves, and hips, which support your shin
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  • Slowly build your fitness level. Increase the duration, intensity, and frequency of your exercise regimen gradually. Begin with short distances to give your muscles and your feet time to adjust. Pushing too far, too fast can put you at risk for stress injuries.
  • Cross train. Alternate jogging with lower impact sports like swimming or cycling. Avoid hills and excessively hard surfaces until shin pain goes away completely, then reintroduce them gradually to prevent recurrence.

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