T Nation

Stress Fracture on Tibia


At least, this is what I think is going on at my left tibia. The pain is anterior and a little lateral, at the very top of the tibia (right on that bony part below the knee). The pain is pinpoint on that spot and does not radiate down or anything. I get the pain whenever putting pressure on it basically... squats, deadlifts, etc. I should mention that three years ago, I broke my left foot, and now it is flat with only a little arch (my right foot is normal).

So what could be the cause of the injury, and how could I prevent this pain? I think the cause could be a mechanical thing because of the left foot that is flat, or maybe a lack of strength in the tibialis anterior?

My plan for now has been: strengthen the TA (heel-to-toe walks), roll over my feet with a lacrosse ball, foam roll the TA, use The Stick on calves/achilles/peroneals, and try to get my arch back by warming up barefoot, walking the dog barefoot, etc.

Thanks in advance.


bumpity bump


When I had major shin splint issues while running, adding a calcium supplement with Vitamin D and minerals helped to make them go away.


why not just get an xray? No guessing.


I was going to do that next week actually, since I have a meet on Saturday. I just wanted to see if anyone else experienced this. I'm hoping it's not a stress fracture (although I'm pretty sure it is), because that basically means no lifting for weeks, and possibly a boot, right?


Well, from my experience with a stress fracture during my high school x country years, I will say that when the bone actually fractured (and it was a teeny tiny hairline) I could not walk more than 10 feet without literally crying from the pain.


hmmm. That is good news, for me of course, since it is definitely not that bad. I'm sorry you had to go through that.


It's a good idea to treat it as one until you get the xray I think.



So I got an x-ray, my shin splint doctor said he didn't see anything like a stress fracture there. In the meantime while I rest, he told me to do strengthening/stretching of the calves and tib anterior... all stuff I've been doing, in addition to some soft tissue work on the feet and calves/TA. I've been doing that for 8 days, with almost complete rest of my shin. However, that pinpoint bruising-type pain is still on my shin, and doesn't feel like it is getting any better. I know that if that pain is there, I am going to get intense pain during squats, lunges, etc...

argh, this is frustrating.


Sorry to hear it's not improving Andy :frowning:


Andy you may have whats called traction periostitis where the sheath of the muscle pulls hard on the bone causing micro tears and small but not noticeable inflammation that is painful to touch and causes pain during exercise.

I had this problem 4 years ago where i went from training on soft surfaces 3 times a week to hard surfaces twice a day. i had weak arches at the time and was an over pronator when i walked. i also had an MRI and was told there was no fracture. I had to pull out of two tournaments at that time and lost 800$ in the process (med expenses etc)

What helped me was releasing the Tibialus Anterior with foam roller, tennis ball etc + Tibialus "posterior" exercises such as sand curls (where you try to grasp sand with your feet and toes) and pencil pick ups (same as curls but with pens and fat markers). Also releasing as much tension through the calfs in particular the soleus muscle which has been found to cause most cases of shin splints

As always a practitioner with ART training will help


awesome post. My left foot overpronates like hell since it is almost flat, so my problem sounds just like the one you had. How long did your problem take to go away?

Time to schedule some ART with my chiro...


I had the luxury of rest of two weeks off training (not advisable), the condition rectified itself within a month and has not since returned.

I fear your foot may be the major contributor to this condition but by no means is it untreatable.

I ll let your practitioner advise you on healing time but keep foam rolling your calf and stretch the soleus like mad (bent knee during normal calf stretch).


yeah while I'm resting up and doing all the soft tissue/strength/stretching stuff for my calves and tib anterior, I've also been working on the arch of my foot because if I don't fix it, the problem will likely come up again. I found a cool tibialis posterior calf raise exercise on youtube, my left is way weaker. Also been doing some barefoot walking and all that...


shin bothered me on push press. I think I'm just gonna tell my doc that I want an MRI or bone scan. They can find both a bone bruise and a stress fracture, so that'd be nice if it can actually see which one I have. I'm thinking it's a bone bruise... the shin has a bump on it where the pain is, and literally feels like a bruise. The good thing is I don't need a boot for that, it's just rest until it feels better. Kind of annoying, but nothing I can do about that... I'll just do prowler work to maintain conditioning and leg strength/size since that doesn't affect it.