Shin pain occurs most often in athletes involved in running, jumping, or high-impact sports. It can be caused by shin splints (also called medial tibial stress syndrome), a stress fracture of the tibia or fibula, or compartment syndrome (Figure 1). The most common cause of shin pain in runners is shin splints.

For all the different causes of shin pain, athletes often feel pain, burning, or tightness along the shin at first. Here are particular symptoms of bone- and muscle-related shin pain.

Bone-related shin pain symptoms may include

Muscle-related shin pain symptoms may include

Shin pain generally results from one or more of these issues.

Shin splints. Before shin splints can be diagnosed, the doctor will need to examine the athlete and review their symptoms. A stress fracture is suspected when shin pain becomes more severe or more localized (in a focal area). Or there may be risk factors for...

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