P ain felt along shinbone, or tibia, is characteristically a sign of shin splints. The term “shin splint” is often used to refer to general leg pain that occurs below the knee and is usually caused by sudden changes in workout routine, drastic increase in mileage, or abrupt change in surface. Due to these causes, shin splints often occur in athletes—particularly runners.
Shin splits themselves involve small tears in the muscle around the shinbone, inflammation of the muscle, or a combination of the two. Aside from change in routine, shin splits can also be caused by overpronation, improper stretching or footwear, or extreme stress on the leg or hip. Tenderness, soreness, or pain along the lower leg are typical signs of shin splints. Mild swelling may also occur.
Upon the first sign of a shin split, it is recommended you stop or decrease your training or activity depending on the strength and duration of the pain you experience. The first few steps for treatment would be rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers. If this does not relieve your pain, consult your podiatrist.
Prevention is key in avoiding future cases of shin splits. Be sure to stretch thoroughly before activity, particularly the calves and the Achilles. When running or training on a new surface, introduce your regimen slowly and avoid sudden changes in workout. Similarly, longer distances should be gradually added as opposed to drastically increasing the length or duration of your workout.