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Shin Splints or A Stress Fracture? How To Tell!

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

You're an avid runner. You've run multiple miles every single day for the past few years and you've had no issues. While on a run one morning, you start having sharp pain in the front of your shin. You ice it at home, take a day off running, and it feels great again... until you go for another run. The pain is still there and is getting a little worse the more you try to push through it. "Darn shin splints!" you yell as you finally have to take a day off. But is it really shin splints or something more sinister?

Stress fractures in the tibia, or shin bone, are one of the most common and serious injuries that sideline runners, and if misdiagnosed or left untreated, can sometimes PERMANENTLY affect your running routine!

It Can Be Difficult To Distinguish Between The Two!

Shin splints occur as a result of repetitive stress on the muscles, tendons, and bone tissues around the tibia causing them to become painfully inflamed. While they can occur anywhere in the sin, they are typically felt along the inside edge of the shin bone.

A stress fracture is a small crack in the shin bone. They are a common problem in high-impact or repetitive impact sports like running. They can be felt anywhere along the shin bone, not just the inside where shin splints are typically felt.

Patients with both injuries report the same symptoms: sharp throbbing pain in the shin with activity and may be aggravated even once the activity is stopped. The spot is extremely sore to the touch as well. There is usually a history of a sudden start of a new activity or a sudden increase in activity.