Shin splints is a Inflammation of the tendons on the inside of the front of the lower leg. The medical term for this condition is medial tibial stress syndrome. The medial surface of the tibia is the surface that faces the inside of your leg.
Common causes of shin splints include overuse, training too intensively or having flat arches in your feet. Exercise-related leg pain is common among people who participate in activities that involve repeated impact of their feet on hard surfaces, such as running, basketball, aerobic dancing and tennis.
Most of the time, you can treat shin splints with self-care steps and rest. You can prevent them from recurring by stretching, using proper shoe inserts and modifying your exercise routine.
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of shin splints may include:
Pain along the inside of the shin or tibial bone is commonly the result of overdoing athletic activities, engaging in sports with a lot of starts and stops or running down hills. Pain may be caused by training mistakes, such as the "terrible toos" — training too hard, too fast and for too long without a proper progression to the increased level of conditioning — or running on a slanted or tilted surface. Worn-out footwear or flat arches may put increased stress on your tibia. Improper stretching and neglecting to warm up before exercising also may contribute to shin injury.
When to seek medical advice
Most of the time, you can take care of shin pain on your own. See your doctor if pain persists, even after resting your legs, or if you believe recovery is too slow.
Also, seek medical care immediately if:
It's possible to mistake shin splints for a stress fracture, which commonly causes a more localized pain in the middle of the tibia, directly over the bone. A stress fracture may not show up on an X-ray until 2 or 3 weeks after symptoms of pain and swelling appear. A stress fracture may be treated with rest or with crutches and a walking boot to prevent a more serious fracture.
If you have recurrent problems that your doctor believes may be due to the mechanics of your foot, especially if you have flatfeet, he or she may prescribe custom-made arch supports (orthotic devices) to correct the problem. You place orthotic devices inside your athletic shoes like foot pads. This helps prevent your arches from collapsing and the force from the ground from concentrating in your shins.
Take these steps to help prevent injury to your shins:
Try these steps to ease the pain and help you recover: