Tibia Pain – What is Shin Splint?

Shin splint refers to the pain felt in the shin (tibia) bone, located between the knee and ankle, on the front of the leg. It can also be called medial tibial stress syndrome. Shin splints often occur in association with physical activity. It is a common problem in those who are involved in sports with a lot of stop-and-go, such as football, basketball and tennis. It is an overuse injury in which microtraumas accumulate . If the stress and injuries caused by excessive activity exceed the self-repair rate of structures such as muscles, bones and tendons, severe pain may be observed that limits movements.

What Causes Shin Splint?

The overload of the tibia and the muscle and connective tissue attached to this bone causes edema, inflammatory reaction (inflammation) and pain. Excessive and repetitive forces can cause a stress fracture in the bone. If not rested, microcracks in the bone can turn into a complete fracture.

Who Happens?

Some people are at risk for developing shin splints. Flat feet, too hard arch of the foot, weak hip and thigh muscles, tense leg muscles, running downhill, running on rough terrain, running on concrete or asphalt ground, wrong training techniques, using inappropriate shoes, sports involving fast stop and go dealing with are the main risk factors. It can also occur in dancers and soldiers. Sudden changes in activity intensity, such as exercising at more frequent intervals, and starting to run longer distances can cause shin splints.


Blunt pain in the front of the leg may occur or be exacerbated by exercise. It can occur on both sides of the shinbone or only on the inside. It can be noticed that there is tenderness by pressing on the inner side of the leg. Mild swelling, numbness and weakness in the foot may be seen. If it does not go away with rest, if it started after a trauma such as a fall, if it is warm to the touch, if the swelling is evident, you can consult a doctor.

Read More  What is a Stress Fracture? Symptoms and Treatment


Diagnosis is made by medical history and physical examination. X-rays are valuable in excluding fractures or other bone pathologies. Chronic compartment syndrome is a condition that can give similar symptoms. In chronic compartment syndrome, pain occurs in the leg due to increased pressure in the muscle during exercise.


Rest and allow the tissues to repair themselves. Generally, the symptoms subside within a few days. It is recommended that athletes continue alternative training programs that will not force the leg for 2 weeks. Swimming can be preferred in this respect. Warm-up movements should not be neglected before sports.

If swelling and pain are evident in the acute period, the first treatment options are to hold the leg up, apply cold, and wrap it with an elastic bandage to create slight pressure. Massage techniques can be applied. Stretching exercises can reduce complaints. Pain medications may be prescribed for short periods of time. If you have flat feet, personalized insoles can be used.

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