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Home :: Shin Splints

Shin Splints (Periostitis)

The term shin splints is a common misnomer in sports medicine. It does not imply a specific diagnosis, rather it is the symptom of pain over the front of the tibia bone. The pain from shin splints can be due to either problems of the muscles, the bone, or the attachment of the muscle to the bone. Therefore, 'shin splints' is simply the name given to pain over the front of the lower leg.


Inflammation of muscles, tendons and covering to bone (periosteum), usually due to an imbalance of the calf muscles (which pull the forefoot down) and the shin muscles (which pull the forefoot up). Shin splints are most common with marathon running, walking, or jogging, particularly on rough terrain.

Signs and symptoms

  • Tenderness over the inside of the shin.
  • Lower leg pain.
  • Sometimes some swelling.
  • Lumps and bumps over the bone.
  • Pain when the toes or foot are bent downwards.
  • A redness over the inside of the shin


  • Medical history and physical by a doctor.
  • X-rays of the lower leg, knee and ankle.


Medical Treatment- Physical therapy is sometimes necessary.

Home Treatment

  • Stop your exercise until you can resume without pain. If you have pain with walking, don't try to run.
  • Use ice massage. Fill a large Styrofoam cup with water and freeze. Tear a small amount of foam from the top so ice protrudes. Massage firmly over the painful area in a circle about the size of a softball. Do this for 15 minutes at a time, 3 or 4 times a day, and before workouts or competition.
  • Apply heat instead of ice, if it feels better. Use heat lamps, hot soaks, hot showers, heating pads, or heat liniments or ointments.
  • Take whirlpool treatments, if available.
  • Massage gently and often to provide comfort and decrease swelling. Apply lubricating oil to skin over the painful area during massage.
  • For anterior shin splints, raise the heel of the shoe with 1/8 inch of adhesive felt.
  • For posterior shin splints, wear an extra pair of socks and run with the body erect, not leaning forward. Try not to land directly on the toes.


  • For minor discomfort, you may use non-prescription drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
  • Your doctor may prescribe other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines.
Prevention tips for Shin Splints
  • Avoid hard and uneven surfaces-use soft surfaces such as dirt or grass for jogging, running and walking.
  • Warm up adequately before exercise or competition. Keep shins warm during exercise.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes with good arch support during physical activities.

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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.