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Question:
When does one need to worry about shin splints? I have run a lot for nearly 15 years, including one marathon and several half marathons. I have recurring shin splints in my left leg. Recently, I seem to have a knot under the medial portion of my tibia, about halfway between my knee and ankle. It does not go away after several days of not running, but gets bigger and hurts after just a light workout. Is this something to worry about or do I just need to take more time off?
DW 
Answer:
A runner friend referred us to this site http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/shin.html and it gives clear and concise advice about 'shin splints' which we wholeheartedly support. However, the usual causes of overuse, poor footwear and hard surfaces can sometimes combine to cause a more unusual but definitely more serious cause of shin pain - i.e. a stress fracture of the tibia (the larger of the two bones in the lower leg). >From the symptoms and signs you describe, this needs to be ruled out by >a visit to your doctor, examination, and X-rays or a bone scan. You should do this before you run again.
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