A shin splint is the most common cause of exercise-induced leg pain encountered by athletes of all levels. This condition can also affect non-athletic people who are on their feet all day. In the past the term shin splint has been used to describe all forms of pain in the lower leg. Misleading terms such as compartment syndrome and stress fractures have all been used to describe a shin splint.
However, a shin splint is a very specific problem. It is essentially an inflammatory reaction involving the deep tissues of the lower leg and may involve tendons & muscles.
The inflammatory reaction occurs at the point where the deep tissues insert into the inside (medial) or front (anterior) aspect of the leg bone (tibia), tenderness is usually present between 3-16 cm above the foot.
When a patient is suffering from a medial shin splint, the pain and the tenderness will be present on the inner aspect of the leg. With an anterior shin splint, pain and tenderness is present on the front and outer aspect of the leg. In both cases, running and walking may be extremely painful. In severe cases, even light weight bearing may be painful.
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