What’s wrong with my shin?
March 16, 2023 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Not-my-doctors of Mefi, can you give me some ideas of what might be causing my extreme but brief shin pain?

I have been experiencing extreme but brief bouts of pain on my right shin, seemingly directly on the right (outer) side of my tibia, recently when I happen to make contact with my shin in a very specific way. I can’t recreate it or figure out which part of my body is actually in pain (muscle, bone, nerve, etc). Help me figure out what to ask my doctor!

About 2 weeks ago, I was sitting cross legged (“criss cross applesauce”) on the ground and as I went to stand up, my left heel (which was tucked under my right lower leg when I was seated) put pressure on my shin (kind of in the space between my tibia and the muscle) in such a way that I experienced an intense, radiating pain that lingered for about 30 seconds or so. I felt it radiate down my outer lower leg, around my ankle and heel, and it was like a 7/10 in intensity in the first moments after it happened. The pain subsided completely after about 30 seconds.

Earlier this week, I was lying in bed and my husband/bedmate lightly kneed me by accident in the same spot and I felt the same intense, radiating, short-lived pain. Today I was standing beside a chair with my left leg on the ground and my right knee resting on the chair, and I somehow put pressure on the same spot on my shin and felt the same pain.

My leg is not tender to the touch (I can’t locate the spot that keeps hurting just by touching my leg), it’s not bruised, red, or swollen. I don’t have any lingering pain but maybe have a bit of lingering tingling in my lower leg occasionally.

Possibly relevant detail: the first time this happened I had recently done a lot of exercise and had bad shin splints. The pain felt maybe like an exaggerated shin splint pain localized to the one spot then radiating all the way down yo my foot. The shin splints have subsided but the painful spot remains.

What is the deal with my leg? Has this ever happened to you?
posted by rodneyaug to Health & Fitness (2 answers total)
I think you're describing this very clearly and asking your doctor "What could be causing this specific kind of new pain" would get results. My guess, based on my experience that nerves are weird, can start playing up for pretty much any reason, and can have very distinct pathways like you describe, is that it's a nerve doing this.
posted by EvaDestruction at 3:21 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Radiating pain + tingling sounds like nerve. Based off your description I'd think superficial peroneal nerve, but this chart outlines them all. Note that most of the nerves in the leg come off the lower lumbar spine and are prone to getting pinched in with age, but that tends to be more radicular than localized. There are also entrapment or compression neuropathies from overuse injuries, think carpal tunnel but in your leg instead of wrist. Some people are prone to these. I once gave myself foot drop from sitting too long with my legs crossed at the knee!
posted by basalganglia at 7:27 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]

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