Size – The larger the area of your shin pain, is better, because muscles in your shin stretch from your knee to below your ankle. Pain tends to radiate along the shin or calf muscles and affect large areas. Muscles heal easier & recover faster.
Colour – Bruising in & around the outside, front and inside of your shin is quite common after a bump, because of the high concentration of blood vessels in your thigh. These capillaries rupture & leak plasma that pools just below your skin. Blue discoloration closer to the front of your ankle is more concerning for it involves your shin ligaments.
Swelling – Swelling is your body’s way of healing itself by sending cells to heal the tissue. More swelling could mean more tissue damage, however not all shin injuries swell. Injury to tissue that develops over a few weeks doesn’t swell, because the tissue trauma is continuous and repetitive, so your body stops the inflammatory reaction. A new injury on an old problem is also possible.
Area – Shin pain at the front of your shin are more restrictive during walking, while pain on the outside of your shin limits you from walking on uneven terrain. If your shin pain causes you to limb you must be more concerned. Sharp pain over a small area makes it easier to pinpoint structures near your pain. Vague, dull & deep shin pain can take longer to identify the root cause. Compensatory patterns develop, sometimes it takes a while to just get rid of those.
Motion & sore shins
Stiff – Shin Stiffness followed by pain is regressing and getting worse. Seek help. Pain followed by stiffness is a good sign of tissue healing, specifically scar tissue formation. Scar tissue is hardening wound tissue that tends to shorten and pull on structures surrounding the injured site. This is more pronounced in muscle strains & tears, where the normal slide of muscles is restricted during a contraction.
Range of movement – Difficult moving your ankle through its range is a big problem. A painful arch means the Tibia takes most strain over that specific range i.e Only painful when you walk, during the heel-strike phase. Shin pain over a smaller range of movement is not necessarily better. This may point to connecting joint surfaces or the syndesmosis being injured. If you feel pain only at the end of your range its less severe and easy to fix. When your shin pain stops movement completely and too painful to put weight through your lower leg, you should definitely come see us as soon as possible.