Stress fractures can keep active people out of sports and exercise for months. Sometimes you can suffer an earlier form of a stress fracture – a stress reaction – before it turns into a stress fracture. In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I explain what a stress reaction is and how you can recover from it.

Anil asks:
I’m suffering from stress reaction of my tibia. I’m a cricket player. When I’m running, I have pain. What should I do?

A stress reaction is an overuse injury where the bone gets too much microscopic stress without enough time to heal. It is a precursor to a stress fracture. If you have a stress reaction of any bone, and you continue to put repetitive stress on that bone, the stress reaction could become a stress fracture.

The tibia – or shin bone – is no different. Typically, runners or running athletes develop stress reactions of this bone. The key to recovering from a tibial stress reaction is to stop running. Often eliminating that repetitive stress is sufficient to help it heal. Sometimes wearing a walking boot or even using crutches and not putting any weight on the leg are necessary.

A tibial stress reaction can cause leg pain in runners.

If you are dealing with shin pain, it can be worthwhile to see your doctor or an orthopedic surgeon to find out if you have a stress reaction of your tibia, or even a stress fracture. Finding out the nature of your problem and taking steps to treat it can help you avoid a much more serious injury.

Also read:
How long does it take a stress fracture to heal?
Can a tibial stress fracture heal on its own?

Please remember, while I appreciate your questions, I cannot and will not offer specific medical advice by email, online, on my show, or in the comments at the end of these posts. My responses are meant to provide general medical information and education. Please consult your physician or health care provider for your specific medical concerns.

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