The term shin splints is the catch-all term for lower leg pain that occurs below the knee either on the front outside part of the leg (anterior shin splints) or the inside of the leg (medial shin splints). Your doctor may refer to the condition as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). Shin splints occur most often with beginning runners who do not build their mileage gradually enough or seasoned runners who change their workout regimen. The cause of shin splints can often be explained in four words: too much, too soon.
1. Get a Correct Diagnosis: Shin Splint or Stress Fracture
To begin the most effective treatment, it’s essential to find out if your shin pain is due to shin splints or stress fractures. The pain caused by shin splints is different than a stress fracture. It tends to a searing pain along the length of the shin. Some runners describe shin splint pain as a tight, achy pain, as opposed to stress fracture pain, which is more of a deep, throbbing pain. Also, shin splints normally aren’t painful while walking or hopping. In fact, most runners with shin splints only notice sharp pain while running fast. Stress fractures cause pain while walking or running at any speed. It’s best to talk to your doctor, self-diagnosis is never a good idea.