Stress Fracture of the Shin

The shin is a common area for stress fractures. If there is repeated stress, usually from poor bio mechanics, the constant remodelling process can get out of sync. The cells resorbing the bone work quicker than those rebuilding it, leading to an area of bone weakness. If the increased mechanical stress continues then the bone can crack or fracture microscopically.

Pain is the basic sign. It is a steady ache in the area initially after a run but then can be felt during it as the issue progresses – the pain then comes at rest and at night. There is a focal point of pain on the bone usually about a thumb’s width across with a diminishingly tender area either side. Occasionally there is a low-grade swelling and slight colouring of the skin. In the early stages the pain really only occurs when you have finished a run or after being on your feet for a while.

A skilled Physio will help diagnose and formulate a treatment plan.

How to treat it.

Rest is the only option. Putting further weight through it will only make the problem worse and delay the healing. There are no shortcuts.

The more you fiddle around with seeing if you can get away with some cross-training, the longer it will take to heal. A full-blown stress fracture takes on average six weeks to heal.

It is essential to have a Physiotherapist guide you through this process and to work on the bio mechanical reasons why you had the stress fracture to start with. If you do not resolve the causes the problem will simply return.