Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"After I run, why do the insides of my lower legs -- along the shins -- hurt?"

ZocdocAnswersAfter I run, why do the insides of my lower legs -- along the shins -- hurt?


I am a 27 year old male who is of average weight for my height. I have been fairly athletic my entire life and have recently taken up running. The day after I run -- sprints or longer distance -- the insides of my shins hurt. It almost feels like it's my bones that are in pain. This affects my walking, squatting, and most leg functions. What could be the cause of this pain and what can I do to prevent it in the future?


This sounds like a classic description of shin splints syndrome. This is an condition cause by repetitive stress to the bones of the foreleg, namely the tibia. The impact of running causing inflammation in the bone which results in diffuse leg pains, at first intermittent but without proper treatment the pain will become more constant. an important distinction is between shin splints syndrome and an acute stress fracture in the tibia. a stress fracture will normally have more localized, sharp pain as opposed to the more diffuse achy nature of shin splints. The proper treatment of shin splints is as follows: -RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. essentially, this is an overuse injury and the most effective treatment is rest. ice, compression and elevation will help with the pain, and occasional NSAIDs (ibuprofen, aleve) may also be used for pain management. Unlike with stress fracture, which requires six weeks of rest, shin splints will normally resolve within a week or so. when you feel the pain has improved, it is reasonable to take up running again (you will not worsen the injury nor cause any permanent damage) if the pain comes back, return to the RICE regimen. -stretching and muscle strengthening are also important components of the treatment and prevention of future shin splints. at least 5-10 minutes of dedicated stretching following your workout is recommended. Hope this helps!

Zocdoc Answers 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 (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.