What can be done about shin pain?

Last updated on September 19, 2020


Is it possible for me to still be growing? I’m 17 and I’m already 5 inches taller than my dad. The reason I ask is that I have a pain in my shins at night that makes it hard to sleep. My mom attributes it to growing pains.


Age has very little to do with growth. What matters is what stage of development you are at.  See the
Tanner Stage Calculator for Boys. It is possible for a 17 year to be still growing. Pain in the upper part of the shins, near the knees, is usually due to growing pains. Pain in the middle of the shins is called shin splints and is usually due to not exercising properly — usually overdoing it. Shin splints are caused by overtaxing the lower leg muscles in a repetitive manner.

Correcting the problem depends on what you are doing. For a runner, shin splints (which is what it is called) can mean you are using the wrong shoes for the surface you are running on. I know when I was doing Tae Kwon Do or a lot of walking, shin splints meant I was too tense and fighting my own muscles.

There are some good stretches that can help speed up the recovery. First, without shoes, sit in a chair and point your toes and then rotate the foot. Then flex the foot up toward the body and again rotate the foot. Calf stretches, where you place the ball of your foot on the edge of a step and hang your heel off the step can also help.

Once the pain is gone, you can prevent repeats by gently exercising the muscles. One easy one is to strap light weights to the end of your feet. Laying on your back with your legs drawn up to your chest and your shins parallel to the floor, point and flex your feet.