Lower leg pain is very common in individuals involved in running.
There are three common injuries associated with the sport of running.
Shin splints or medial tibial stress syndrome is a very common cause of lower leg pain in individuals involved in running. It is an over use condition which means it develops gradually over aperiod of time rather than due to an acute or sudden injury.
Shin splints are due to repetitive stress to the lower leg musculature resulting in inflammation of the attachment of muscle to the tibia or shin bone.
Risk factors for this condition include running on hard surfaces, too rapidly increasing running mileage, wearing worn out or non-supportive shoes and running with improper form. Individuals with pronated or flat feet are also more likely to develop this condition.
The typical symptoms of shin splints are aching pain and tenderness over the medial aspect of the tibia. Initially the pain occurs only after running. As running activities continue, the painis experienced both during and after running.
Exertional Compartment Syndrome
Exertional compartment syndrome also causes pain during running, but the pain goes away with in a few minutes of stopping activity. There is also no tenderness of the leg in individuals with compartment syndrome.
Lower Leg Pain Stress Fractures
Stress fractures of the tibia are another cause of lower leg pain. The pain is experienced during a run as well as after running.
Patients with a stress fracture also have soreness of the lower leg, but with a stress fracture there is point tenderness at one spot, as opposed to patients with shin splints in which there is tenderness over an area usually measuring at least one inch in length.