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If I have shin pain does it mean that I have shin splints?

There is pain in my left shin that I can't explain. I'm not a particularly active person but everybody I describe the pain to says it could be shin splints. What exactly are shin splints and how would I have gotten them?
Shin splints are known medically as medial tibial stress syndrome. They are a very common cause of pain in the front of the shin. They are thought to occur because of too much stress on the muscles and connective tissue in the lower leg, in part due to excessive tightness of leg muscles, as well as repetitive strain on the tissue from physical activity. Because of this mechanism of the pain, almost all cases of shin splints occur in people who are engaged is significant high impact exercises, such as long distance running. However, under certain circumstances, they can occur in anyone, even those who are not quite so physically active. If you think the pain you have might be consistent with shin splints, then I would suggest that you start by making an appointment with your primary care doctor. They can evaluate your pain and help decide if this is shin splints or not. There are several other possible causes of the pain, such as stress fractures, that they can also evaluate for at the same time. Based on what they find, together you can work on coming up with a plan to relieve the pain and start recovering!
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

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