Shin Splints

bon secours hampton roads sports med shin splintsWhat is it?

Shin splints is a general term for pain in the anterior (front) part of the leg. Typically, the pain is caused by repetitive microtrauma to the tibia from any number of causes: weakness of the leg muscles, inadequate shoe support, training errors such as running on hard surfaces or over training, and malalignment problems such as a varus foot, inadequate arches, or over supination of the foot.

How Common Are Shin Splints?

It is estimated that shin splints account for 10-15% of all running injuries and 60% of all conditions that cause pain in the legs.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Shin Splints?

Shin splints are characterized by a general, diffuse pain along the inside border of the tibia, in the front of the leg. Four grades of pain have been outlined:

• Grade I: pain occuring after athletic activity

• Grade II: pain occuring before and after athletic activity but not affecting performance

• Grade III: pain occuring before, during, and after activity and affecting performance

• Grade IV: pain so severe that activity is not possible

Should I see a Doctor?

Referral to a physician may be necessary to rule out a stress fracture, compartment syndrome, or other more serious condition. If pain becomes increasingly worse without activity or the pain becomes more localized, see a physician for an x-ray and other special tests.

Treatment of Shin Splints


• Ice/ice massage

• NSAIDs if recommended

• Stretching of lower leg muscles

• Activity/training modification to eliminate pain

• Shoe/equipment evaluation and modification

• Compression with a sleeve or tape

Don’t try to run through the pain. If you think that you might have shin splints, see your athletic trainer for evaluation before they get worse.

Back to News Listing Posted on 06/02/2014