Shin pain in the bottom half of the leg is common among runners, netballers etc. Pain is usually on the inside (medial) aspect of the shin but can occur on the outside (lateral). Pain may become severe and can limit athletic performance.
Shin pain typically decreases during warm-up allowing you to train/compete, but then returns after activity.
The inside (medial) aspect of the shin bone has many attachment sites for muscles that control movement about the foot and lower limb. When these muscles are overworked or stressed, pain can occur at the muscle attachment onto the bone.
Shin pain can be caused by a number of events:
- poor lower limb biomechanics or alignment
- training on hard surfaces e.g. road running, netball court
- poor footwear
- muscular tightness in lower limbs
What do I feel?
- Deep dull pain in the lower half of the shin. There may also be sharp pain in this area
- Pain during warm up and then again after activity. Pain may be worse the following morning
- Impaired walking or athletic performance What can I do?
- RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation)
- Modify or correct activity, e.g. run on grass
- Wear the correct footwear for your activity
- See a physiotherapist for rehabilitation and exercises
Physiotherapy assessment of the lower limbs is needed to identify any abnormalities that may be causing the shin pain. With identification and correction of these problems, the athlete should return to training with a reduced load, gradually increasing to full activity.
Shin pain is often poorly diagnosed, making it important to get a correct assessment from your health professional.