Since there are a variety of injuries that can occur on the lower leg and cause lower leg pain, understanding a few of them may make athletes, trainers and others understand what shin splints are.

Causes of lower leg pain and shin splints are as follows:

  • General shin soreness brought on by exercise and exertion;
  • Shin splints proper, and;
  • Stress fractures from overuse and trauma.

Since we are trying to understand what shin splints are, stress fractures are best left for another time.

Soreness is common and frequently misunderstood as shin splints. Soreness comes from overuse and inadequate rest between workouts and exercise. Most general shin soreness can quickly and easily be overcome in 72 hours with a simple regimen of R.I.C.E. – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Shin splints, on the other hand, are medically known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome or MTSS. For a complete understanding of MTSS, a bit of anatomy is necessary.

Several muscles, fascia and tendons make up the lower leg structure, along with the bones. The formation of muscle, fascia and tendon form a complex, interwoven pattern and when one or more of these parts are injured or greatly fatigued, the fascia and tendons may break down and place added stress on the bones of the lower leg.

If you are suffering from shin splints or are curious to learn more about what shin splints are, take a look at our comprehensive shin splints article for additional information. There are tips about preventing and treating shin splints as well as ways to speed healing and reduce further injury.

Also, keep an eye-out for my next installment on what causes shin splints due out next month.

Until next time, stay healthy, keep stretching and God bless.


Kind regards,

Brad Walker
The Stretch Coach

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