Conditions and Diseases
US Military

What are shin splints?

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Wiki User
2010-02-15 06:09:25

Shin spliints are actually microfractures of the tibia.

Extremely painful but not dangerous. They are best treated by

avoidence of the causative injury. They are usually caused by

running, usually aggressive, as in soccer, football, track and

field, jogging, marching, etc. Like any other fracture they can

take 6 to 8 weeks to resolve but usually resolve in two to three

weeks. They are not visible on x-ray or even MRI, and they are

usually diagnosed just by history and physical examination. If

definitive diagnosis is really needed, a test callled a "triple

phase bone scan" is performed.

Any of various painful conditions of the shins caused by

inflammation of the surrounding muscles, frequently occurring among


Actually, shin splints can be caused by a number of factors. 2

of the most common forms of shin splints are I) periostitis, and

II)tibialis anterior tendinitis.

I) periostitis is an irritation of the pereosteum (the tissue

joining the tibia and fibula) caused by repetitive pounding of the

feet. This is often seen in runners who run on uneven surfaces

(grass, forest trails, etc.). Periostitis, if unresolved, can lead

to what the above poster mentioned: stress fractures. these can

become very serious, and take quite some time to heal.

II) tibialis anterior tendinitis is an inflammation of the

tendon of the main dorsiflexor of the foot (lifting the toes and

pointing the foot upwards). this is often caused by repetitive

forced dorsiflexion, as seen in persistent uphill running. This is

fairly non-serious, unless the tendon completely ruptures which is

very rarely the case.

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