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Athletic Training

Shin Splints or Stress Fracture



I started to increase the speed and length that I walk. After a week I got pain and very tight muscles in the outsdie from of my leg between my knee and ankle. I went to my massage therapist and she massaged it. I have stoped walkiing for a week and started today and with it 5 minutes the pain came back. It is also now gotten very tender in those muscles. I get a deep tissue massage and it normaly is tender for a day or two but this has been a week and still very tender and now also swollen. Is there any way that I can tell the differnce between a shin splint and a stress facture? What are the symptoms of both?


Thanks for using Net Wellness! A stress fracture will not be tender on the muscle nor will it swell. However, with Shin Splints both of those things are true. It sounds like you are experience some level of shin splints. My advice would be to go see a sports medicine physician so they can evaluate you.

There are many different treatment options for shin splints and they can help guide you on an appropriate activity level as well. I would also ask them to advise you on massage treatments; massage brings more blood flow to the affected area and sometimes if this is done too much or too heavy, it can cause more harm than good. Good Luck!

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Response by:

Courtney D Siegel, MEd, ATC Courtney D Siegel, MEd, ATC
Assistant Athletic Trainer
Instructor of Athletic Training
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University