What are shin splints?

The pain that you feel at the front of your lower leg is called shin splints.

woman trying to run on torn labrum

Are you a huge fan of running? If yes, then you might have experienced a pain in your shins after a couple of rounds.

The pain that you feel at the front of your lower leg is called shin splints. Also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, this is pretty common for athlete or dancers who intensified and changed their normal routine. This is because your muscles, tendons, and bone tissue might have been overworked. However, shin pain doesn’t always equate to shin splints. The pain could also be due to other reasons.

You would know it is a shin splint if you can feel the pain on the outside part of your lower leg. This is called compartment syndrome. From the word itself, the swelling of muscles inside a closed compartment is causing the pain. This is because there could be pressure placed on the muscles. Compartment syndrome usually comes with unusual nerve sensation and muscle weakness.

Another possible shin splint would be is if there’s a pain in the lower leg. This could signal a stress fracture or an incomplete crack on the bone. Compared to the first case, this condition could be more serious. If you experience any sharp pain just by pressing your fingertips on your shin is a sign of stress fracture.

Regardless of the inevitable instances, there are some ways you can do to prevent shin splints.

But let’s try to first look at the possible causes of shin splints.

Common reasons where you can experience shin splints are due to:

  1. Flat feet or high arches
  2. Weak muscles
  3. No warm-ups
  4. Wrong shoes
  5. Increases workout
  6. Uneven surfaces


There are also some symptoms that might take place which could be signs to confirm that you have shin splints. Aside from the pain, you might experience some tenderness as well as soreness on the inner side of your shinbone.

You can also notice some swelling on the lower part of your leg. Some research regarding shin splints suggests that the pain can automatically stop once you stop exercising too. However, there are cases wherein the pain could keep on recurring which for an extended period, could lead to stress fracture.


Possible ways where you can prevent shin splints is to know the possible factors that could cause it too.

  1. Use arch supports
  2. Avoid over workouts
  3. Include strength exercises
  4. Choose comfortable shoes
  5. Anticipate your movements


There are some home remedies or quick fix that you can do to treat shin splints. However, if these remedies don’t make the pain go away, then by then you’d know that it’s time to see a doctor.


Shin splints will surely take some time to heal. As you wait for it, make sure that you rest your body most especially your legs from too much movements.

Apply ice

To make the pain go away, you can apply some ice on your shin for about 20 to 30 minutes a day. Doing this for a couple of days could help.

Use shoe inserts

Shoe inserts such as insoles or orthotics could be pretty helpful most especially when your arches or your feet are flattened each time you stand up.

Over-the-counter drugs

Painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen can help with the swelling. However, you will need to ask your doctor about the proper consumption to avoid negative side effects.

If the above-mentioned treatments won’t work, then you should consult your doctor about it. Most likely, doctors will have to conduct a physical test. An X-ray may be conducted so he/she can further check your bone for possible fractures.

Healing shin splints will surely take time. There is no definite time frame that could tell when the shin pain will go away.

For the meantime, you may take advantage of the given rest periods to avoid stressing out your shin. If you also wish to go back to your workout or training, make sure that you use a new routine that won’t cause any harmful impacts on your shin.

While you heal, you can try out alternative exercises that are not too intense for you. If your shin splints come back, make sure you see your doctor again and maybe consult a physical therapist about it.


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