Shin Splints: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 11/12/2019

The term shin splints refers to an injury that causes pain along the front side of the calf. The pain likely results from inflammation of the soft tissues in the front of the leg over the shinbone (tibia).

Signs and symptoms of shin splints include pain or a dull ache on the front of the lower leg. The pain may worsen during exercise and may become severe enough so that activity must be stopped. Associated symptoms can include pain on the inner part of the lower leg and mild swelling in the lower leg. Shin splints sometimes cause pain at the beginning of a workout that gradually lessens and then worsens again toward the end of the workout.

Cause of shin splints

An overuse injury such as an increased intensity in training routine usually causes shin splints.

Other shin splints symptoms and signs

  • A Dull Ache or Pain on the Front of the Lower Leg
  • Mild Swelling in the Lower Leg
  • Pain on the Inner Part of the Lower Leg


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.