Repetitive stress to the shinbone, tissue, and muscle causes shin splints. It typically develops when activity levels are increased. Running on hard surfaces, high-impact leg activities, and shoes that are worn out or do not fit properly can also lead to shin splints.
Common shin splint symptoms include sharp pain, tenderness, and soreness in one or both legs. Pain usually worsens with exercise and gets better with rest. Over time, the pain can become continuous and progress to a stress reaction or fracture.
Physicians will conduct a thorough exam and assess symptoms and medical history. In some cases, x-rays may be required to identify other causes of pain such as stress fractures.
Shin splints usually heal on their own by avoiding activities that cause pain or discomfort. Icing and over the counter pain medications can also be used. In some cases, physical therapy and orthotics may be recommended.