The Defining Symptom of Shin Splints Is Pain in the Shin

Shin Bone

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  • The main symptom that defines shin splints is pain in your shin bone, or tibia
  • Experts are not sure which part of the shin experiences the pain, but it is believed that the pain is caused by small muscle tears, periosteum inflammation or muscle inflammation

The main symptom that defines shin splints is pain in your shin bone, or tibia.1 In this condition, the pain typically develops in your dominant leg. For example, if you’re right-handed, your right leg will most likely experience shin splints. Experts are not sure which part of the shin experiences the pain, but it is believed that the pain is caused by small muscle tears, periosteum inflammation or muscle inflammation.2 Several things can cause pain in your lower leg:3

Not warming up: Lack of stretching can cause pain in your lower legs once you increase the intensity of your exercise.

Wearing worn or damaged shoes: They can cause you to have poor walking or running form, which can result in injury.

Your exercise route: Running on angled roads in one direction for an extended period of time can strain one of your legs.

Road surface: Hard road surfaces such as concrete or rocky, dirt roads can increase the impact felt by your legs.

Sudden increase in movement: Performing a new exercise routine without learning the basics can strain your legs.

Pain in the Shins May Be a Symptom of Other Diseases as Well

Other diseases that can cause shin pain may be mistaken for shin splints. Therefore, it’s important not to conclude that any shin pain is automatically caused by shin splints because the wrong treatment can lead to wasted effort and money. The following are several diseases that are known to cause pain in the shin:

Compartment syndrome: This is a condition wherein bleeding occurs inside a bundle of muscles (compartment). It is usually caused by a fracture of the affected bone or a plaster cast that has been applied early before the leg stops swelling (due to an injury). Sometimes, it can be caused by a burn, which causes the skin to tighten.

Symptoms include intense pain in the affected leg, especially when stretching the muscle. A burning sensation and numbness can be felt as well.4

Peripheral artery disease (PAD): PAD is a condition similar to coronary artery disease, wherein plaque clogs up an artery, only this time, the affected part is the leg, not the heart.5

Aside from pain in the affected leg, you may notice numbness, open sores and shrinking muscles.6 If left untreated, the lack of blood flow can cause the affected leg to become gangrenous, and eventually it may need to be amputated.7

Tendonitis: Tendonitis (or tendinitis) is basically the inflammation of the tendons, which are strong fibrous tissues that help connect muscles to the bones. It can affect the posterior tibial tendon in your ankle, making it feel like you have shin splints.8 Symptoms to watch out for include pain around the affected joint, especially when moving. Tenderness and mild swelling can appear as well.9

MORE ABOUT SHIN SPLINTS

Shin Splints: Introduction

What Are Shin Splints?

Shin Splints Symptoms

Shin Splints Causes

Get Rid of Shin Splints

Types of Shin Splints

Shin Splints Treatment

Shin Splints Exercises

Shin Splints Prevention

Shin Splints Diet

Shin Splints FAQ

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