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What Are Medial Shin Splints?

Medial shin splints are an inflammatory condition of muscles, connective tissues, and bone around the shin bone (tibia). Pain is located at the inner border of the shin bone where muscles are attached. Medial shin splints are commonly seen in gymnasts, athletes, runners, dancers, and military trainers. It is an exercise-related ailment that develops typically during and after exercise or any strenuous physical activity. Its symptoms include pain and occasional swelling in the shin bone. Medial shin splints can be easily managed with rest, ice application, stretching, and medicines.

What Are Medial Shin Splints?

What Are Medial Shin Splints?1

Medial shin splints are the painful condition of tibia bone caused by overdoing exercises, heavy weight training, and other strenuous activities. Medial shin splints can develop in one or both the legs. Its pain is located at the inner edge of the tibia bone. It is also called medial tibial stress syndrome because the stress of overactivity induces stress and inflammation in the medial aspect of the tibia.

Causes Of Medial Shin Splints2

Medial shin splints develop due to overuse of the muscle, tendons and bone tissue (periosteum) around the shin bone by repetitive strenuous activities. It can also happen due to sudden alteration in frequency, intensity, and duration of exercises or strenuous activities. Walking or running on hard surfaces or uneven surface can also induce this condition.

Risk Factors For Medial Shin Splints

The risk factors of medial shin splints are-

  • Athletes
  • Flat foot or high arched foot or abnormally rigid foot
  • Improperly fitted or worn out shoes
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Military training

Symptoms Of Medial Shin Splints3

The symptoms hurt only during and after exercise or strenuous activities. It is not so serious in nature. One feels relieved from the pain when he rests. The symptoms of medial shin splints are following-

  • Pain is felt at the border of the shin bone.
  • It can affect one or both the legs
  • Swelling is sometimes present
  • Pain is a dull or sharp aching type
  • Pain gets worse when the sore spot is touched
  • Numbness and weakness may be present in the feet

In severe and neglected cases where the provoking activity is not ceased, the pain becomes worse and is felt even at rest.

Diagnosis Of Medial Shin Splints4

Your physician will investigate regarding your medial shin splints symptoms, activity level or medical history. He will perform a physical examination of the affected leg. He may ask you for imaging tests such as X- rays, MRI or CT scan to rule out other problems in this area. Stress fractures, tendinitis or chronic exertional compartment can cause medial shin splints.

A stress fracture may develop due to cracks formed in the shin bone by constant stress or overuse of the leg. Tendinitis is the inflammation of the tendons attached to the bones. Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is caused due to pressure build on the muscles due to overexertion.

Treatment For Medial Shin Splints5

Medial shin splints respond well to rest and treatment. Medial shin splints can be treated by following ways-

Rest- One should take rest for two to three weeks to relieve pain, resting means avoiding all the activities especially postponing exercising routine that triggers pain. For, example, one should avoid walking on hard surfaces like concrete. One should walk at a slow pace for short intervals. Less strenuous activities like swimming, biking can be adopted as they don’t cause stress on the shin.

  • Ice Application on the affected part for 20 minutes several times a day also relieves the symptoms.
  • Compression Bandages can control swelling.
  • Painkillers like anti-inflammatory medicines can relieve pain
  • Well Fitted Supportive Shoes And Orthotics can relieve the symptoms when the patient has flat feet.


Medial shin splints is a name given to the painful condition of the medial aspect of the tibia due to persistent stress on this area. Medial shin splints develop during exercises and disappear with rest and treatment. Its symptoms improve if the causative activity is ceased.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 25, 2020

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