The term “shin splints” refers to pain along the shinbone (tibia) — the large bone in the front of your lower leg. Shin splints are common in runners, dancers and military recruits.
Medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints often occur in athletes who have recently intensified or changed their training routines. The muscles, tendons and bone tissue become overworked by the increased activity.
Most cases of shin splints can be treated with rest, ice and other self-care measures. Wearing proper footwear and modifying your exercise routine can help prevent shin splints from recurring.
Shin splints are caused by repetitive stress on the shinbone and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone.
If you have shin splints, you may notice:
- Tenderness, soreness or pain along the inner part of your lower leg
- Mild swelling in your lower leg
At first, the pain may stop when you stop running or exercising. Eventually, however, the pain may be continuous.
When to see a doctor
Consult your doctor if rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers don’t ease your shin pain.