Shin pain is common in sports and athletics. In soccer, the lower leg is common area of direct trauma, causing soft tissue contusion (bruising). As with most soft tissue injuries, applying the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) concept is helpful in mild cases. Significant pain with bearing weight, swelling or numbness however might warrant a medical evaluation to rule out a fractured bone or other more significant injury.
Shin Splints, known also as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, present as non-contact source of shin pain. Along with stress fractures to the lower leg, shin splints may develop from overuse. The adage Too Much, Too Fast, Too Often frequently applies.
Commonly, they present at times where your activity level changes, such as the beginning of a season, but may also develop in younger athletes who train year-round. Quite often, a brief period of rest and rehabilitation (Physical Therapy) is all an athlete needs to get back on track.
Symptoms that are increasing in intensity or don’t resolve completely with a period of rest may be a sign of a more significant problem and should be checked out by your doctor. It is not a good idea to leave chronic Shin Splints unchecked, as you could be dealing with a stress fracture or other overuse injury of bigger concern. Sometimes, a short break from sport earlier on will save a longer loss of playing time later.