Shin splints refer to any pain felt below the knee on the front outside part of the leg or the inside of the leg. Because this term encompasses a variety of conditions, it's important to consult your doctor if you experience prolonged pain in the legs. Shin splints frequently affect those who perform rigorous exercises, such as runners, dancers and other athletes. Overuse of the affected muscles often results in shin splints. Find out the top 10 symptoms of shin splints.

Dull Pain

The most common symptom associated with this condition is a dull pain that can occur in different parts of the leg. Most patients report pain along the inside of the shin, and especially in the middle or the bottom of the shin. The pain can be felt in varying degrees but is mostly described as dull and long-lasting. Sometimes, the pain may be intense, especially during or after physical exercise. If you experience this type of pain, consult your doctor for a precise diagnosis. More importantly, remember to take the right precautions to prevent shin splints from happening.

dull pain shin splints

Pain During Activity

Another frequent symptom often experienced by patients with shin splints is a deep pain that can be felt during periods of physical activity. This pain is most likely to be experienced during moments of physical movement. Running, lifting, swimming, and kicking are actions that can trigger pain in the affected area. If the condition worsens, pain may also be felt during periods of low-impact movement such as walking. If you experience pain during exercise, take a break and consult your doctor. To help alleviate pain, you can place an ice pack on the affected area; this should help reduce any inflammation.

pain shin splints


Next on the list of symptoms is tenderness. This sign is frequently reported by patients who experience conditions that affect the bones or muscles. If you have a shin splint, the affected area may feel warm to the touch, and the muscles can feel tender when pressed. The inside of the shin may also be tender when squeezed. A feeling of heat often accompanies this symptom. You may also experience inflamed or red skin near the affected area. Depending on the area of the leg, tenderness may be more or less visible.

tenderness shin splints

Tight Muscles

Muscles that feel tight or stiff are a widespread complaint among people who suffer from shin splints. Tight muscles are especially common in injuries that occur in the lower part of the leg. If the affected muscles are trained too hard or too fast, they can become tight. This then leads to the development of shin splints. The best way to treat stiffness is to rest; afterward, muscle strengthening and stretching are necessary for a full recovery. Some of the muscles that are most likely to experience stiffness include the gastrocnemius muscle in the bottom back of the leg and the posterior tibias.

muscles shin splints

Decreased Flexibility

Some people might experience reduced flexibility in their muscles as a result of shin splints. When the muscles in the leg, and especially the lower calf area, become stiff and hard, flexibility is often compromised. This might make it difficult to operate with a normal range of motion. Actions, like bending down or reaching for a far-away object, may become impossible. To improve flexibility, first and foremost it's vital to consult your doctor before testing any home remedies. If possible, perform stretches to improve flexibility and aid recovery. Make sure to carry out all stretches as instructed by your doctor, so you don't worsen the condition.

flex shin splints

Inflamed Skin

One of the symptoms you may experience if you have shin splints is inflammation of the skin surrounding the affected muscles. The skin may also appear red, and it may be tender to the touch. The affected part of the leg often swells as blood flow increases. Because of the swelling, you may need to apply ice on the area to reduce discomfort. In some cases, anti-inflammatory medication may be necessary to bring down inflammation. Consult your physician before using any type of medication.

inflammation shin splints

Pain That Gets Better With Rest

Do you notice the pain and swelling in your leg goes away after resting? If so, you may have shin splints. One of the symptoms associated with this condition is pain that dissipates after rest. When your muscle is inactive and relaxed, inflammation and discomfort levels go down. However, you may also notice more pain in the morning following a good night's sleep; this is because the soft tissue around the affected area becomes slightly inflamed. If you feel any discomfort, apply an ice pack onto the area for a few minutes. You may also contact a physical therapist for more detailed advice.

pains shin splints

Stress Fracture

If you experience pain in the lower leg, along with other related symptoms, you may have a condition known as a stress fracture. A stress fracture refers to a crack in the bone, which is a far more severe condition than shin splints. If you suspect you have a stress fracture, press the bone along your shin. Look for localized pain; if the condition is due to shin splints, the pain will most likely be generalized whereas stress fractures cause pain in precise locations. Another differentiating factor is that shin splits tend to cause more pain in the morning.

stress shin splints

Posterior Tibias Pain

Another defining symptom of shin splints is pain or inflammation in the posterior tibialis muscle. This part of the leg helps to pull the foot down and inward. If it's overused due to repetition, it can become inflamed. This, in turn, can cause shin splints and other painful conditions. If left untreated, the condition can often deteriorate, making it essential to receive medical attention and adequate treatment. At home, remember to rest to reduce inflammation.

do i have shin splints

Swelling of the Lower Leg

If you have shin splints, you will most likely experience swelling in the lower leg. This can result in pain that radiates across the lower part of the leg. Swelling may also cause you to feel pain when the muscle is pressed. To reduce swelling, it's important to rest and avoid physical activity that may worsen the condition. You may apply ice on the affected area to help reduce swelling and discomfort; this may be done up to three times a day. You can also perform certain stretches, but remember to consult your doctor beforehand.

do i have shin splints


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