I have pains in my shin

Shins can hurt for a variety of reasons, including problems with bones, nerves, muscles, and circulation. Therefore, identifying and eliminating the cause can involve seeing more than one specialist. Most causes have a characteristic pattern of symptoms but there is considerable overlap.

Shin pain during sporting activities is known as shin splints. Two of the commonest causes are traction periostitis and exercise-induced compartment syndrome. The former is felt along the inside edge of the shin bone and aches for a while after stopping the activity. The latter causes cramp-like calf or shin pains at a predictable running distance or time, which tend to improve fairly quickly on stopping.

Shin pains which occur suddenly and persist, preventing any further participation in the sport, might indicate a hairline stress fracture through the shin bone (tibia).

When assessing shin or foot pains, it is important to consider every possible cause to avoid overlooking the unexpected. For example, a slipped disc or arthritic spur in the spine resulting in pressure on the nerves (radiculopathy) and sciatica in the leg, perhaps with little or no pain in the back itself is a potential “catch”. Careful clinical examination and tests will provide the answer. A lesser-known example of 'referred pain' is discomfort around the knee or shin that arises from an arthritic hip. Once suspected, an X-ray of the hip will confirm the diagnosis.


The following list is a summary of some symptoms you may have. For full assessment and treatment of your particular problems, please contact us.

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