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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Bone trauma and fractures

Question: Pain in lower left leg

 Bean - Sat Oct 20, 2007 5:27 pm

I am a 22 year old male, I started running after being very lethargic and having a poor diet for about 4 years. I have had no surgeries, and am not taking any medicaitons. I did get diagnosesed with some small amount of cartalage in my left knee as well as a small amount of fluid, but the MRI used showed no sign of any damage to any tendons in or near the knee, in fact no real damage at all. I changed my diet and my lifestyle, but after running for about a month I started developing a pain in my lower left leg. I'm using a good pair of running shoes and taking time to stretch. I was not concerned at first and took a few days off, that resumed running, but the pain got worse. Now I have stopped running (but continued other work outs and maintaining a healthy diet) except once a week, where I'm required to run for weekly Marine Corps preparation training. I'm not sure what's wrong with my leg. I saw a sports doctor during a free day, he took a quick xray suggested it was most likely shin splints and told me to take a week~10 days off. It has been over 4 weeks sense than and the pain is still there, and I am concerned it might be a stress fracture, which I hear is hard to see even with an xray unless your really looking for it.

The pain is very sharp and centered on one point. If feels like it's coming from the middle of the leg, around the bone area, but I can't be sure. When I massage the leg, the most pain comes from applying some pressure to the bone on the inside of the leg in one place, the muscles around it don't feel sore when I rub them thought. It doesn't hurt at rest, only when applying or releasing pressure on the leg. It has gotten better to wear I can't feel much pain (if any, some days) when walking, but the moment I try to run, the pain becomes acute with every step on the left leg. I used to be active in High School and have had muscle pain and such before (though admittedly never shin splints) and this just doesn't feel like any muscle pain I know of. If it was shin splints, I would have expected it to go away in 4+ weeks. It has me really concerned, and I want to know if this is worth going to another doctor to get another more detailed examination. I want to know exactly whats going on so I can take care of it and heal it properly I can resume normal training as fast as possible.

Thank you very much for any help and/or advice.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:33 pm

User avatar Hi Bean,

What you are describing certainly sounds like it could be shin splints or a stress fracture. Given that the typical method of treating shin splints isn't working it makes a stress fracture a bit more likely, especially given your description of point tenderness along the bone.

Initially, stress fractures may not be visible on x-rays as you've indicated. Generally, if there is concern for a fracture that was not seen on the first x-rays and pain persists after about a week the x-rays will be repeated. Often, then signs of a fracture will be present.

If you are continuing to have this pain I would recommend you follow up with your doctor.

Best wishes.

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