Skip to main content

These Are the Telltale Signs of Shin Splints

Are you suspicious that you may have shin splints but aren’t entirely sure what the signs are? This condition, also called medial tibial stress syndrome, can affect athletes and non-athletes alike. 

Shin splints develop after exercise and other physical activity. They’re triggered by inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue around the shinbone, or tibia. 

This inflammation is caused by repetitive stress, and certain activities can increase your risk of getting shin splints, such as:

Our board-certified podiatrists at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers have years of experience diagnosing and treating shin splints, and we want you to be aware of the top telltale signs of this uncomfortable condition.

A dull ache along the front of your lower leg is the most common sign of shin splints, but it’s not the only one. Here are the telltale signs to look out for regarding shin splints:

Pain or discomfort in your shins and legs

This pain might develop or worsen during or after physical activity, especially running or walking for extended periods. You may also experience pain if you push on your shins and along the inner part of your lower leg and muscle pain in your lower leg.

Swelling in your lower leg

If you notice your lower leg is swollen, you may be experiencing shin splints. The inflamed muscles, tendons, and bone tissue can lead to swelling and pain. 

Weakness or numbness in your feet

Your feet may begin to lose sensation or be weaker when shin splints are present. Be sure to stop any exercise immediately if you cannot feel your feet. 

These different signs will be different for different people. Some people may only experience mild pain or discomfort, and others may experience pain so great they can’t continue exercising. 

In mild cases, rest can help reduce the pain, but in severe cases, you may experience pain in your shins even when you aren’t standing. 

If you are experiencing any of these signs of shin splints, seeing a provider like one of our podiatrists at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers is important. Some of these symptoms overlap with other lower leg conditions, and your provider can diagnose your symptoms accurately. 

Treating shin splints

Your Arlington/Mansfield provider diagnoses the cause of your pain by evaluating your gait and performing a physical exam of your feet, ankles, and lower leg. They may order an X-ray or other imaging study. 

Once they have diagnosed the cause of your pain, they create a customized treatment plan for you. Treatment for shin splints usually begins by temporarily stopping the activity that may have caused the condition. 

Even though you’ll need to stop that activity while you heal, you can swap your high-impact activity with a low- or no-impact alternative, like swimming or yoga. Resting your legs is important, but your Arlington/Mansfield provider may recommend other treatments, such as:

Usually, shin splints don’t require surgery. However, in some extreme cases, shin splints may not respond to other treatments, and your provider may recommend a surgical procedure to end your pain and prevent future shin splints. 

If you think you may have shin splints or just want to learn more, we can help. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone at the Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers office nearest you.

You Might Also Enjoy...

How Diabetes Affects Your Feet

How Diabetes Affects Your Feet

Diabetes causes many different health complications, but did you know it can affect the health of your feet? Even though your risk for foot health complications increases with diabetes, there are ways to manage it. Take a moment to find out more.

Is Your Neuroma Slowing You Down?

Finding yourself slowing down because of foot pain that just won't go away? Keep reading to learn how understanding and managing neuroma pain with simple lifestyle adjustments and professional care can transform your mobility and comfort.
Do Bunions Resolve on Their Own?

Do Bunions Resolve on Their Own?

Worried about your bunion? This painful protrusion can cause a lot of issues, and you might be wondering if it’ll go away on its own. Keep reading to learn more about bunions and what you need to know about treating them.
EPAT for Plantar Fasciitis: What to Expect

EPAT for Plantar Fasciitis: What to Expect

Painful plantar fasciitis can be hard to manage. But there’s a noninvasive treatment that can ease your pain. Keep reading to learn what to expect from extracorporeal pulse activation technology (EPAT) treatment. 

When Is Surgery Necessary for Hammertoe?

If you’re suffering from hammertoe, you may wonder about your treatment options. While there are many nonsurgical therapies, sometimes surgery is the best cure. Keep reading to find out more.