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Shin splints are a condition that causes pain and sometimes swelling in the front part of the lower leg (shin). The pain is most likely from repeated stress on the shinbone (tibia) and the tissue that connects the muscle to the tibia. They are common in people who run or jog. Activities where you run or jump on hard surfaces, such as basketball or tennis, can also lead to this painful condition.
Most people get shin splints from repeated pounding on hard surfaces during activities such as running, basketball, or tennis. You can also get them when you:
Some people have flat arches in their feet, which can make the feet roll inward when running. This may also lead to shin splints.
Most people with shin splints feel pain on the front lower part of the leg. Some people have mild swelling too.
When you first notice the pain, it may just be at the start of your workout and feel like a dull ache or soreness. If left untreated, the pain can become sharper and last until you stop exercising. In severe cases, the pain can continue even after you finish your workout.
In many cases you can use home treatment to help relieve pain and swelling from shin splints.
You may also try over-the-counter medicine. For example, ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) or naproxen (such as Aleve) can help relieve pain and swelling. Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) helps with pain.
Ask your doctor if strengthening and range-of-motion exercises are right for you.
After you feel better, don't go back to your old exercise routine too quickly. Start slowly, and little by little increase how often and how long you work out. If you start out too fast, your pain may come back.
There are things you can do to help prevent shin splints.
|American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)|
|6300 North River Road|
|Rosemont, IL 60018-4262|
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) provides information and education to raise the public's awareness of musculoskeletal conditions, with an emphasis on preventive measures. The AAOS website contains information on orthopedic conditions and treatments, injury prevention, and wellness and exercise.
Other Works Consulted
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American Academy of Pediatrics (2010). Shin-splints. In JF Sarwark, ed., Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care, 4th ed., pp. 724–725. Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
- Bederka B, Amendola A (2010). Leg pain and exertional compartment syndromes section of The leg. In JC DeLee et al., eds., DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine: Principles and Practice, 3rd ed., vol. 2, pp. 1857–1864. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma|
|Last Revised||August 7, 2012|
Last Revised: August 7, 2012
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