Shin Splints

Shin splints pain

Last Updated February 20th, 2019

Overview of shin splints

The global estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that nearly 50% of the current world population suffers from musculoskeletal disorders. A large percentage of these diseases result from sports injuries and general overuse injuries. Professional athletes, sportspersons, gym goers and aerobic dancers are the main vulnerable groups of these categories of musculoskeletal disorders. “Shin splints” is perhaps the most widespread sports-related injury. It accounts for about 10.7% injuries in male athletes and about 16.8% injuries in female athletes. In the long term, it not only affects performance but also has adverse effects on the general health of a person.

 

What are shin splints?

Shin splints injuryShin splints or “Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome” is a ballistic sports injury in which inflammation and damage of the shin bone (lower leg bone) occur.

The pain is mainly felt at the inner edge of the shin bone (tibia). Shin splints mainly arise from rigorous sports activities on a regular basis that damages the muscles, tendons, and ligaments present in the lower leg.

Two sets of muscles actively contribute to shin splints. These are the anterior tibialis muscle (present at the front of the shin) and the posterior tibialis muscle (present at the back of the shin). The inflammation and soreness mainly occur at the frontal portion of the shin or on the inner side of the lower leg. Female athletes are more likely to suffer from shin splints than the male athletes of the same age.

 

Under what conditions do shin splints occur?

Shin splints occur under the three main conditions-

  • Stress fracture: A hairline fracture occurs in either the tibia or the fibula.
  • Medial stress syndrome: Inflammation of the muscles that attach to the inner side of the tibia occurs.
  • Compartment syndrome: Pain and inflammation in the anterior compartment muscles occur.

 

What causes shin splints?

Shin splints occur due to a number of factors. The important ones are listed below-

  • Overuse injury of the muscles and bone tissues (periosteum)
  • Structural defects like having a flat foot (pes planus), very high arches (pes cavas) or very tight Achilles tendon
  • Over-pronation (drawing the foot inwards beyond a limit) during any sports activity
  • Overload on the outer leg due to improper leg movement
  • Differences in leg lengths
  • Poor stability of the ankles
  • Muscle weakness
  • A muscular imbalance between the calf muscles and the anterior shin muscles
  • Poor muscle flexibility
  • Wear and tear of muscle fibers due to excessive stress and traction force at the muscle-bone interface
  • A porosity of bones due to loss of minerals (due to aging)
  • Having diseases like arthritis, snapping hip syndrome or foot problems
  • Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, menopause or menstruation
  • Past injuries or surgeries
  • An abrupt increase in the intensity of muscular activities
  • Defective footwear
  • Running or training on extremely hard, uneven and rough surfaces (Eg: Concrete)
  • Faulty training techniques
  • Excessive sprinting or running on inclined planes

 

What are the symptoms of shin splints?

Shin splintsThe following symptoms make shin splints easily identifiable-

  • Pain, inflammation, and swelling in the frontal part of the lower leg
  • Soreness, warmth, and tenderness of the shinbone
  • Pain on the exterior portion of the lower leg (due to fractures of the tubula)
  • Pain and soreness along the lateral length of the shinbone (in medial tibial stress syndrome)
  • Muscular pain (due to compartment syndrome)
  • Weakness, numbness, and coldness of the foot (due to the irritation of the nerves and blood vessels)
  • Increase in muscular resistance and stiffness during movements
  • Localised bruising and swelling
  • Redness and tenderness on the inner part of the shin
  • Formation of lumps on the lower leg (occasional)
  • Limited motion of the legs

 

Grades of pain in shin splints

Patients suffering from shin splints suffer from the following grades of pain-

  • Grade I: Pain usually occurs after some activities. The common locations are the calf and the shin.
  • Grade II: Pain does not occur during an activity. Pre-activity or post-activity pain occurs, but it does not impact the performance.
  • Grade III: In this case, degradation of performance occurs due to pain occurring before, during and after activities.
  • Grade IV: Severe pain occurs that prevents the person from taking part in any activity or training.

 

What are the different types of shin splints?

Shin splints can be classified into a few types based on the part of the lower leg affected and the intensity of pain. The first classification is discussed below-

  • Anterior shin splints: Here, pain usually occurs at the frontal part of the shin. The pain worsens when the person tries to lift his/her toe, keeping the heel in a steady position.
  • Posterior shin splints: In this condition, the pain occurs medially on the inner edge of the shin bone.

Another classification of shin injuries is given below-

  • Medial tibial stress syndrome: It is usually asymmetric injury syndrome, that is, if the pain starts in one leg, the other leg also gets affected shortly after. The pain usually occurs on the inner sides of the shin and runs along the lateral length of the lower leg.
  • Anterior tibialis tendonitis: Pain occurs in the anterior tibialis muscles and is felt at the outer edge of the shin bone. Inflammation of the tendons occurs. The symptoms worsen on repetitive motion and overuse stress.
  • Tibial stress fracture: The pain is concentrated at a particular point and occurs directly on the shin bone. It is usually absent when the person is not performing any physical activity.

 

Diagnosis

The following diagnostic techniques are recommended for the shin splints patients-

  • X-ray
  • Bone scan (CT scan or MRI)
  • Ultrasound scan
  • Digital radiography

 

Treatment & Prevention

Shin splints painThere are mainly two options to look into if you are seeking treatment for shin splints. These are :

  • Home remedies: Firstly, take a break from all physical activities and allow your body to rest.  Limit the amount of physical exertion.  One should keep the affected leg elevated and use ice-packs to heal the swelling.  OTC painkillers can be taken to obtain relief from the pain. Wearing elastic compression bandages will also help.  Use a foam roller to gently massage the shin area.
  • Surgery: Though it is rare, surgical intervention might be required in certain cases if the pain is severe and persists for months. The surgery performed in such cases is known as a fasciotomy as it involves making incisions around the fascia tissues.

Prevention of shin splints can be done by:

  • Instead of getting into an intensive physical workout suddenly, one should start slow and gradually build up the speed and stamina.
  • Add few sessions of cross-training instead of being limited to only running or jogging.
  • Follow the correct gait while standing and running to prevent such injuries.
  • Wear good quality supportive footwear that provides adequate support to the calf muscles.
  • Seek immediate medical attention when you experience any type of pain along calf muscles.

Facts

  • The medical terminology for shin splints is medial tibial stress syndrome.
  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes and walking/ running on uneven surfaces can trigger this kind of pain.

Facts

  • Regular runners should buy new footwear for every 400 miles they run on one pair of shoes.
  • Both, flat-footedness and having too high arches on feet can cause shin splints.

Facts

  • Gait correction can also help with attaining relief from the pain. Gait analysis involves in understanding whether one is over-pronating or under-pronating while walking.
  • It is one of the most common sports injuries and often accompanies when one changes or intensifies physical routines.

Related Conditions

Want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Subscribe to free FactDr newsletters.

REVAMP YOUR

If you're enjoying our website, we promise you'll absolutely love our new posts. Be the first one to get a copy!

Get factually correct, actionable tips delivered straight to your inbox once a week.

I want the latest scoop on :

We hate spam too. We will never share your email address with anyone. If you change your mind later, you can unsubscribe with just one click

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the FactDr Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of FactDr subscriptions at any time.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • If you are a regular runner prefer running on soft grassy fields instead of running on hard pavements.
  • Stretch your calf muscles prior to running or exercising. Have proper warm-up and cool-down routine in order to reduce ligament damage.
Don'ts
  • Try to push through the pain. This will worsen the condition and may also cause further painful complications.
  • Wear ill-fitting and/or worn out sports foot wear. Regularly change your sunning shoes.

 

 

 

Related Conditions

Trending Topics

ASTtest-liver
AST- Aspartate Aminotransferase Test AST test is a blood test that is used to measure the level of a particular liver enzyme…
anti-thyroglobulin antibody
Anti-Thyroglobulin Antibody test Anti-thyrogloubin antibody test measures the level of antibodies that attack the thyroid gland cells and are hence indicative…
Vitamin K2: 8 reasons why you need this bone-building & cancer-fighting nutrient Vitamin K2 is claimed to be essential for your bone health, for reducing the risk of cancer, and…
The science behind daith piercing: Can it really cure migraine? Since the ear has several pressure points, it is believed that daith piercing activates the vagus nerve and…
folate test
Folate test The Folate test is used to measure and monitor the levels of folic acid in the blood. The…
Maltitol: Things you must know about this artificial sweetener Sugar alcohols are produced by fruits and vegetables. Maltitol is an artificially produced sugar alcohol and is used…
abdominal-CT-scan- image
Abdominal CT scan Abdominal CT scan is a diagnostic imaging technique that provides a clear picture of the state of internal…
TBHQ: A carcinogen lingering in your child’s favorite snacks TBHQ - Why you should shun the practice of eating instant noodles or microwave popcorn to get rid…
diverticulitis diet
Diverticulitis diet: The right way to eat if you suffer from the disease Are you suffering from diverticultis but clueless about your diet ? Read this complete plan for diverticulitis diet…
Lectin: The common link of proteins between peas and people Lectins are a type of protein that are found majorly in legumes. Most people are find it easy…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
Top 6 remedies to treat a razor burn at home Symptoms of razor burn include bumps on the skin, redness, and irritation of the skin. Find easy and…
Stye : The best natural home remedies to ease the pain Styes developing inside the eyelid tend to be more painful whereas external styes are less painful and ooze…
hlab27 test
HLA-B27 test The HLA-B27 is a blood test that is used to determine the level of a particular protein called…
cytomegalovirus iGG
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)- IgG Test The cytomegalovirus IgG is the immunoglobulin protein produced by our immune system when the body is infected by…
passion fruit juice
Passion fruit: How one exotic fruit can help you fight infections and cancer! Passion fruit: Why does this exotic fruit have such an enticing name? And how can it protect you…
BRAT Diet: What is the right way to follow this diarrhea-relieving diet? BRAT diet, a simple diet consisting of just bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, can help you combat the…
Pulmonary Function Tests Pulmonary function tests (PFT’s) are non-invasive breathing tests employed for diagnosing and monitoring lung diseases such as bronchitis
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
IGE test
IgE test – Immunoglobulin E IgE or immunoglobulin E test is a test that measures the level of IgE in the blood and…
rubella IgG test
Rubella IgG Test The rubella IgG test is a blood test that checks for the rubella virus IgG antibodies present in…
The real reason why you shouldn’t be eating ramen noodles Instant ramen noodles might be your go-to snack for your hunger pangs. But with each spoonful you are…
Silicon Dioxide: How can a component of sand be essential to your wellbeing? Silicon is one of the most abundant elements in the nature. Find out how silicon dioxide can prove…
Chromium Picolinate: An essential mineral supplement for faster weight loss Did you know that about 1.6 million deaths were directly linked to diabetes globally? How is it linked…
How do neutrophils protect you from fatal bacterial attacks? During an infection, certain enzymes alert the mature neutrophils.  Neutrophils then travel through the bloodstream to the affected…
Quinine: How gin and tonic came to be known as a potent health elixir The discovery of quinine-containing tree bark is sometimes considered the most serendipitous medical discovery of the 17th century.
Poop chart: Top things you didn’t you your poop could reveal about you Bristol poop chart was designed during the 1990s in order to help doctors identify various types of poops…
Ferritin blood test
Ferritin Test Ferritin test is a blood test that provides vital information on the level of RBCs and iron in…
Bloodtestalbumin
Albumin Test Albumin test or blood serum test is a liver function test that measures the amount of the protein…
CLA: A breakthrough weight loss supplement with minimal side effects Tried every weight loss supplement in the market with no substantial gain? Why not try CLA supplements, derived…
serum electrolyte test
Serum Electrolyte If there is an electrolyte imbalance in the body, a serum electrolyte test will help to find out…
HELICOBACTER_PYLORI---IgG
Helicobacter Pylori – IgG Test Helicobacter pylori IgG test is a blood, saliva, and urine test performed to determine if the patien is…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
Chlorella: Therapeutic powers of the billion-year-old algae now within your reach Chlorella - A billion year old nutrient-rich algae that can potentially ward off cancers and high cholesterol; the…
RHEUMATOID_FACTOR_(RF)
Rheumatoid Factor (RF) Rheumatoid factor or RF is a blood test used to diagnose painful joint conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis…
serum zinc test
Serum Zinc Test The serum zinc test is a blood test performed to assess the zinc level in the blood (serum)…
Free T3 test
Free Triiodothyronine (FT3) Test The free triiodothyronine or FT3 test is an important blood test that is used to detect the level…
TPAB test
Treponema Pallidum Antibody(TPAB) test Treponema pallidum bacteria a gram-negative bacteria that has helically coiled, corkscrew-shaped cells, responsible for STDs such as syphilis.
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
autoimmune diseases facts
Autoimmune Diseases: Find out if your body is attacking you right now Did you know your body can harm itself? What are autoimmune diseases and why does it harm some…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
CBC blood test
CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test refers to the test that measures the number of RBCs, WBCs, etc…
POSTPRANDIAL-BLOOD-SUGAR
Post-Prandial Blood Sugar Postprandial blood sugar test is an important diabetes diagnosing tool. This simple blood test measure the level of…
beta 2 glycoprotein 1 IgG
Beta 2 Glycoprotein 1 IgG Beta 2 glycoprotein 1 antibody test involves detecting and measuring the presence of the IgG class of beta…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
Bubble Tea: Bubbling with nutrition or a hidden sugar mine? The tapioca pearls present in the tea looks like bubbles and hence the name bubble tea became popular.…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
bilirubin-test-result
Bilirubin Test Bilirubin is a substance produced in the body as a result of red blood cell breakdown. A bilirubin…
lipoprotein A
Lipoprotein (A) Test Lipoprotein (A) test is used to measure and monitor the levels of LDL(Low-Density Lipoprotein) in the bloodstream in…
maltodextrin sugar
Maltodextrin: What are the hidden health benefits of this food additive? Maltodextrin is one of the few food additives that has been relatively deemed safe. Many experts now have…
GM Diet: The fastest way to lose weight or yet another hoax diet? General Motors started this trend of extreme dieting for 7 straight days to ensure its employees were able…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
Eustachian Tube : Functions and top home remedies to prevent its infection Pressure equalization, mucus drainage and protecting the middle ear from bacteria and viruses are the three important functions…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
Helicobacter pylori IGA
Helicobacter Pylori – IgA Test The H.pylori IgA test is a blood test used to identify the level of IgA antigen in the…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
lipid-profile
Lipid Profile Lipid profile is a blood test that provides complete information on how much cholesterol is present in the…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
Cystoscopy Cystoscopy is intended to look at the abnormalities in the ureters, bladder, and urethra, to assist surgeries performed…
random blood sugar test
Random Blood Sugar Test The random blood sugar or RBS test is a blood test prescribed mainly to check the level of…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
lifestyle diseases
The Big 5 lifestyle diseases: How your everyday living might be killing you You'd be shocked to know how unhealthy and potentially fatal your everyday routine could be. Has the modern…
ashwagandha brain
Ashwagandha: The best-kept secret of Ayurveda now revealed! Ashwagandha literally means "smell of horse". Don't get bogged down by that one tiny detail because this ayurveduic…
Anhedonia: Does the chronic inability to feel joy affect you too? How often do you feel dragged down by an invisible force? Do you feel an inexplicable emotional numbness…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
liver cleanse detox
14 go-to foods that are best for a complete natural liver detox Liver cleanse can be achieved by just choosing or avoiding certain types of food. Liver itself is a detoxifying…
EEG
Electroencephalogram – EEG EEG or electroencephalogram is a diagnostic tool used to access the functioning of neurons and brain activity to…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza! If you didn't love pineapples already, here are some of the top health benefits that bromelain can bring…
Top natural diuretics: The instant benefits you can get from nature’s water pills Since diuretic drugs are known to cause side effects, it is better to choose a natural diuretic that…
EMA antibodies
Endomysial Antibodies (EMA) Test EMA test is an investigative blood examination to locate the presence of certain antibodies, called Endomysial antibodies or…
occupational hazards types
Occupational Hazards: How to vouch for your health at your workplace Occupational hazards affect millions worldwide. Chemical spills, faulty wires, deadly pathogen, and work-stress can happen anytime. Follow these…
bananas exercise
10 health reasons why you should go “bananas” over bananas! Bananas:The world's most popular fruit comes with a host of unbelievable health benefits. Find out how you can…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
Internal bleeding brain
Beware: Ignoring these tell-tale signs of stroke could cost a life The signs and symptoms of a stroke differ depending on which part of the brain has been affected.…
arterial-blood-gas
Arterial Blood Gas Analysis Arterial blood gas analysis is a diagnostic procedure used to determine the volume of oxygen and carbon dioxide…
Bronchoscopy procedure
Bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy is a procedure where in a scope is inserted into the lung pathway to observe any growth…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside your chest. It…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test is a blood test that measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood…
anti-chlamydia antibody tets
Anti-Chlamydia Antibody -IgG Test Anti-Chlamydia Antibody - IgG test is performed by collection of urine or genital fluids as sample for testing…
free thyroxine ft4
Free thyroxine test (FT4) The FT4 or free thyroxine test is a blood test used to detect the level of free thyroixine…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
Panera bread steak arugula
Panera Bread: The truth behind this “healthy” restaurant chain What to order and what to avoid when dining at Panera Bread ? Know more about this popular…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
boost brain health
The ultimate tips on how to boost your brain health Would you like to be smarter? Want a sharp memory but bored of doing sudoku? Try salsa or…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
dandelion weight loss
Caralluma Fimbriata: How to eat this cactus to lose weight Caralluma fimbriata is a miracle cactus that can be safely consumed by most for losing weight and boosting…
waterchestnut
Water Chestnuts: The tastiest ways to include this healthy tuber in your diet Water chestnut is not a nut after all. It is a tuber (much like the potatoes) growing close…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
Microneedling: Does this cosmetic procedure live up to the hype? Is microneedling a safe and painless procedure? How can pricking your skin with a series of pins help…
Is bronchitis contagious? And how to prevent this infection? It is acute bronchitis that is contagious which means you can contract it from another person or you…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
myelogram
Myelography Myelography is an important diagnostic tool that is used to investigate and identify abnormalities in the spine and…
erythropoetin test
Erythropoietin (EPO) Test Erythropoetin stimulates the production of RBCs in bone marrow thus an erythropoetin test is done to diagnose blood…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
Pumpkin Seeds: Why pumpkins are more than just for pies! Pumpkins have been long associated with Halloween carvings and delicious pies. But did you know that pumpkin seeds…
glutamine workout
Glutamine: Why is this the right choice for muscle-gain supplement? Glutamine can help you gain muscles and build higher immunity. Read more to find out how you can…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Trisodium Phosphate: How a paint thinner made its way into your breakfast Ever thought how toxic chemicals find their way into our foods? How can they harm our body? And…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
Epley maneuver: Why is this the best protection from the symptoms of vertigo? Epley maneuver is an exercise that can treat the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  It was…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
Colloidal silver benefits
Colloidal silver: An essential dietary supplement or yet another pharmaceutical hoax? Colloidal silver is hailed as an effective home remedy for infections. Many believe it can treat HIV and…
GERD heartburn
Heartburn: What are the exact symptoms and the best home remedies? There are easy home remedies for heartburn, which not only acts as a first aid when you experience…