shin splints

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A term applied to a number of overuse injuries characterized by a dull aching pain felt on the inner or outer surface of the shin bone (tibia) and brought on by exercise. It is often associated with overtraining (particularly at the start of a season's training), running on hard surfaces, or poor running technique. Although the term ‘shinsplints’ is still used by athletes, it is no longer used by most doctors because it is too vague. The conditions embraced within the term include stress fractures of the tibia or fibula, inflammation on the outer side of the ankle (peroneal tendinitis), increased pressure within the muscle compartments (see compartment syndrome), and inflammation of the membrane covering the tibia (medial tibial stress syndrome). In all of these conditions, the irritation and pain spreads and continues throughout activity. The symptoms stop when activity ceases, but the leg usually remains tender to the touch. Treatment depends on the precise cause, but usually includes a long period of rest, ice treatment, anti-inflammatory medication, and stretching exercises.

Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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