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Shin Splints

Shin Splints

Shin splints are a common exercise-related problem caused by repetitive stress on the shinbone and the connective tissues that attach the muscles to the bone. Pain may be worse at the beginning of activity and then subside during exercise — or it may subside when you stop moving. But shin splints are not something to ignore. Too often, if they consider the pain tolerable, athletes or runners try to “push through” the pain. Which is the last thing they should do. And why it is so important to consult with the skilled orthopedic specialists at OCC – Advanced Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists in Denver, Parker, or Aurora, Colorado, before pain becomes chronic and a fracture occurs.


Shin splints are a common overuse injury that affects the lower leg. This injury happens when the muscles and bones in the lower leg pull and become irritated leading to inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and the thin layer of tissue covering them. Shin splints account for about 10 to 15 percent of all running injuries. It has also been found that up to 60 percent of all conditions that cause leg pain in athletes have been attributed to shin splints. Shin splints are more common with female runners because they don’t have as much muscle mass to sustain breakdown. It is even possible for children to get shin splints. They may feel similar to growing pains, but as with any athlete, they can be the result of a very active child.


The tibia is what is referred to as the shin bone. The tibia is one of the two bones in the lower leg. It’s the second-longest bone in the body after the thigh bone. The tibia is paired with a shorter leg bone called the fibula. As the stronger of the lower leg bones, the tibia is the weight-bearing bone supporting the weight of the body as one moves and stands. The tibia also serves as a point of attachment for 11 muscles, as well as tendons and ligaments that together help one extend and flex the knee joint and move the ankle joint. The tibia is the most commonly fractured long bone in the body.


Shin splints are the common name for the medical condition known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS).  The pain associated with shin splints results from increased activity and excessive amounts of force on the shin bone and the tissues attaching the shin bone to the muscles surrounding it. Sometimes, shin splints are described as different types, such as anterior, medial, or posterior. These names relate to the different parts of the leg (front, middle, or back) and the muscles where the pain is felt. For example, medial shin splints are felt on the inner side of the shin, while anterior shin splints are on the outer side. Pain typically occurs along the inner border of the tibia, where muscles attach to the bone.

Read more about Shin Splints on our new Orthopedic News Site – Colorado Orthopedic News. Schedule an appointment with a sports medicine specialist today.

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