What does fact checked mean?
At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
Stress fractures and shin splints are common but different injuries that are often due to overuse and improper training 4. Both of these conditions can only improve with rest and avoiding the activities that exacerbate symptoms, until the injury heals. Both can also become chronic or severe if not treated properly. If the symptoms of stress fractures or shin splints occur, it is important to immediately discontinue whatever activity is being performed and seek medical guidance 14.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Shin splints occur when the bone, muscles and tissues in the front lower part of the leg become overloaded and/or fatigued. Shin splints can cause general tenderness or pain in the inside of the lower leg. Initially the discomfort may be mild and just occur during activities. If left untreated, the pain may become severe and occur even at rest, warns MayoClinic.com.
Stress fractures, which are small hairline cracks in the bone, tend to cause pain that is very localized over the site of the fracture. Stress fractures may also be worse during activity and better with rest, unless they are not allowed to heal.
- Shin splints occur when the bone, muscles and tissues in the front lower part of the leg become overloaded and/or fatigued.
- Shin splints can cause general tenderness or pain in the inside of the lower leg.
Heel Stress Fracture Symptoms
Too much of the same activity such as kicking, running and jumping can fatigue the muscle and cause an inflammatory response in the muscles, tendons and tissue that covers the bone, notes the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 3. This can lead to visible swelling in the shin area. Having flat feet, abruptly changing a workout routine or surface, and wearing improper footwear can all contribute to this condition.
Shin splints and stress fractures can create feelings of tightness or restricted range of motion, states the National Council on Strength and Fitness 4. When the muscles in the lower legs are not able to keep up with the demands being placed on them, shin splints can develop. If an individual keeps working out, the force of the workout will be placed on the bone, which over time can develop stress fractures. As with pain and swelling, stiffness may at first just be mild and appear with activity. Without the right treatment, stiffness and pain may progress to the point that it becomes difficult to bear weight on the affected leg.
- Shin splints and stress fractures can create feelings of tightness or restricted range of motion, states the National Council on Strength and Fitness 4.
- Without the right treatment, stiffness and pain may progress to the point that it becomes difficult to bear weight on the affected leg.
Heel Stress Fracture Symptoms
Causes of Knee Pain in the Front of the Knee Cap
Unexplained Shooting Pain in My Shins
Can I Lift Weights With a Glenoid Labrum Tear?
Healing Time for Shin Splints
Pain Above the Knee Cap With Running
Rehab Exercises for Stress Fractures From Running
Running & Collarbone Pain
Ankle Tendinitis Symptoms and Treatment
Knee Pain in the Medial Collateral Ligament When Running
- MayoClinic.com: Shin Splints Symptoms
- MayoClinic.com: Stress Fracture Symptoms
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Shin Splints
- The National Council on Strength and Fitness: Shin Splints and Stress Fractures
- Winkelmann ZK, Anderson D, Games KE, Eberman LE. Risk factors for medial tibial stress syndrome in active individuals: An evidence-based review. J Athl Train. 2016;51(12):1049-1052. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-51.12.13
- Pietrzak M. Diagnosis and management of acute medial tibial stress syndrome in a 15 year old female surf life-saving competitor. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2014;9(4):525–539.
- Galbraith RM, Lavallee ME. Medial tibial stress syndrome: Conservative treatment options. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2009;2(3):127-133. doi:10.1007/s12178-009-9055-6
- Reinking MF. Exercise related leg pain (ERLP): A review of the literature. N Am J Sports Phys Ther. 2007;2(3):170-180.
- Nielsen RO, Buist I, Sørensen H, Lind M, Rasmussen S. Training errors and running related injuries: A systematic review. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2012;7(1):58–75.
- Alaia MJ, Fischer SJ. Shin Splints. OrthoInfo. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Reviewed August 2019.
- Ma CB, Zieve D, Conaway B. Shin Splints - Self Care. MedlinePlus NIH. Reviewed November 5, 2018.
- Moen MH, Tol JL, Weir A, Steunebrink M, De Winter TC. Medial tibial stress syndrome: A critical review. Sports Med. 2009;39(7):523-46. doi:10.2165/00007256-200939070-00002
- Reshef N, Guelich DR. Medial tibial stress syndrome. Clin Sports Med. 2012;31(2):273-90. doi:10.1016/j.csm.2011.09.008
I hold a Master's degree in exercise physiology/health promotion. I am a certified fitness specialist through the American College of Spots Medicine and an IYT certified yoga teacher. I have over 25 years experience teaching classes to both general public and those with chronic illness. The above allows me to write directly to the reader based on personal experiences.