Shin splints refer to pain along the front of the leg, specifically the shinbone. It involves the large bone in the leg called the tibia, and the proper medical name of the condition is medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS).
Shin splints are common in runners, dancers and military recruits. They often occur in athletes who have recently intensified or changed their training routines. The muscles, tendons and bone tissue become overworked by the increased activity, which causes inflammation, swelling and pain.
Those individuals who are just beginning an exercise program or a running program may be prone to shin splints. Symptoms may be the result of playing sports on hard surfaces, while performing many sudden stops and starts. They may also be caused by running on uneven terrain such as hills and beaches.
Shin splints are an overuse injury, occurring due to repetitive stress on the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments of the lower leg. One of the most common causes of shin splints is increasing running mileage or other high-impact physical activity too quickly.
Risk factors can include:
- Flat feet or high arches
- Beginning a running program
- Increasing duration or intensity of high-impact physical activity
- Improper exercise footwear
- Running over uneven terrain
- Military training
Pain along the front or side of the tibia is the hallmark symptom of shin splints. It may feel like you