Shin splints


Shin splints, is often referred to medically as medial tibial stress syndrome, caused by overuse injuries along the long bone in front of the lower leg, known as the shin bone (tibia). Shin splints develop when the muscles and bones in the lower leg pull and tug at the shin bone, causing inflammation (irritation and swelling) and pain.

Shin splints are common in adults with osteoporosis, enlistees in the armed forces, dancers, and runners. Shin splints often develop in athletes who have recently changed or increased their training programs. Muscles, tendons, and bone tissue are being overworked by the increased activity.

Shin splints are typically treatable with rest, ice, and other self-care techniques. Shin splints can be avoided by changing your exercise program and using the appropriate footwear. However, shin splints do have the potential to turn into a tibial stress fracture if neglected.


Lower leg pain is the most common symptom of shin splints. The shin bone may feel painful to the touch and the pain might range from minor to severe. Shin splint pain may cause:

  • Begin as intermittent discomfort during activity and develop into a constant, persistent pain even after the activity has stopped.
  • Tenderness or swelling in the lower leg
  • Soreness or pain at the shinbone

Shin splints may be present if someone experiences lower leg pain or aching legs that worsens after exercise. The pain may come and go, and may be either dull or intense. If rest, ice, and over-the-counter painkillers do not relieve the shin pain then patient may seek medical intervention.


Shin splints occur when the shin bone is exposed to repetitive stress caused by the pulling and tugging of the muscles and connective tissues in the lower leg. Running and jumping can subject the shin bone to continuous, repetitive pressure that might result in shin bone inflammation (swelling or irritation) and weakness.

Risk factors

Shin splints are more likely to affect people who are the following:

  • Athletes: Who participate in high-impact sports that strain the legs, commonly runners who are starting a running program that runs on uneven surfaces or increases the duration and intensity of the activity.
  • Flat feet or high arches: Muscles and bones may not be able to distribute or absorb force from impact and loading activities as well in this condition.
  • Military: Those who walk or march most of the time.
  • Others: People who do not wear supportive shoes during an exercise. People who walk a long distance. Those who may already have weakened bones due to osteopenia or osteoporosis.