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"If my shins are sore does it mean that I have shin splints?"

ZocdocAnswersIf my shins are sore does it mean that I have shin splints?


There is a bad pain in both of my shins. It almost makes walking impossible when it really flares up. Is this shin splints? I do run on the track at the local high school everyday and I bet that isn?t good for my shins.


Shin splints is a general term used to refer to pain in the front of the lower leg, near the tibia (the larger of the two bones in the lower leg). The medical term for shin splints is medial tibial stress syndrome. Regardless of which term is used, shin splints are commonly seen in runners as well as people who participate in sports that involve running with a lot of stopping, starting, and changing directions (soccer, football, basketball, tennis). Overall shin splints can be effectively treated with a combination of rest, stretching, icing the affected area, and often a change in footwear (orthotics can often help provide better support) or running surface. However, not all pain in the front of the leg is due to the general inflammation/irritation of shin splints. Pain such as that you are describing--as well as pain located in the tibia--could also be due to stress fractures. Unlike shin splints, stress fractures do require more intensive treatment, namely an extended period of rest to allow them to heal. Depending upon the location, stress fractures are also treated with crutches or walking casts. For this reason, it is best to pursue an appointment with an orthopedic specialist who can take a more detailed history of your current injury and past medical history as well as perform an exam to make sure that you don't need any further intervention.

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