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Do Shin Splints Hurt All The Time?

Shin splints1 is a condition characterized by pain in the front of the lower leg (shin bone). It is caused by overdoing exercises especially running or repetitive weight-bearing activities such as basketball, tennis, etc. It usually does not cause any serious symptoms and usually settles by itself without any medical intervention merely by rest and stopping exercises and strenuous activities. The symptoms include pain followed by exercises, involving both legs and sometimes swelling. Shin splints may get worse if not taken care off or neglected.

Do Shin Splints Hurt All The Time?

Do Shin Splints Hurt All The Time?

Shin splints is a condition marked by infrequent pain in front of the lower leg at shin bone. The pain lies in between the knee and ankle in the lower leg. This condition may also be called as medial tibial stress syndrome. It can appear in both the legs. The pain is not always present and is not severe all the time.

Spin splints do not hurt all the time. Pain is felt during exercise or physical activity session. Shin splints pain is triggered by exercises and repetitive strain on the legs due to physical activities. It can become so severe in some cases that it prevents the patient to perform any activity. Due to repetitive strenuous activities, the bones, muscles, and joints attached to the bone get stressed out and healing and repair process gets delayed.

Shin splint is caused due to excessive stress o the tissue bone and tissues around the bone. This leads to regional swelling of the muscles which may result in inflammation and pain. It is commonly seen in athletes, dancers, and military recruits.

The causes of shin splints are-2

  • Running, its intensity, frequency, and duration
  • Overweight
  • Repetitive weight-bearing activities like badminton, tennis, basketball
  • Sudden alterations in one’s physical activities due to an exercise plan or pace of running
  • Excessive running on hard such as concrete or uneven surfaces.
  • Repetitive running on slanting surfaces
  • Stress from not properly healed Past fractures
  • Wearing loose or poorly fitting shoes that cannot support feet completely
  • Over-pronation- having flat feet or the feet that tends to roll inwards
  • Having weak ankles, tight calf muscles or tight tendon around the shin bone
  • Anatomical abnormality such as flat foot syndrome.

Shin Splints Symptoms3

The patient feels the following symptoms-

  • Pain is felt soon after the start of exercise or physical activity
  • Pain is felt over the large part of font bone usually an area of 5 cm or more
  • Pain can also felt at the region of the previous fracture
  • Pain is centered in between knee and ankle at the shin bone
  • Pain is dull and achy at the beginning which may become sharp and severe if the strenuous activity is not ceased.
  • It usually improves with rest. In some rare cases, it may get severe and constant even when rested well.
  • It may affect both the legs
  • It sometimes causes localized swelling of the bone
  • Muscle pain
  • Numbness and weakness in the feet

In severe cases, the shin may appear hot and extremely painful even at rest

Shin Splints Diagnosis4

Shin splints can be diagnosed by its symptoms, physical examination, X-rays and other imaging scans.

Shin Splints Treatment5

Shin splints can be usually treated at home with simple measures like

  • Resting for at least two to three weeks
  • Applying ice on the shin for 10 minutes in every 4-5 hours a day
  • Taking painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Doing low-impact activities like cycling, swimming or yoga


Shin splints represent the painful condition of the shin bone usually provoked by exercises and repetitive weight-bearing activities. Shin splint usually does not hurt all the time. It causes pain and sometimes swelling in both the shin bone between knees and ankles.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 23, 2020

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