Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Strained Muscle Shin Anatomy

To better understand anterior tibial strain, it helps to understand the anatomy of the leg.

The entire leg contains four bones:

  • Femur: thighbone
  • Patella: kneecap
  • Tibia: thick bone in the front of the lower leg (the shin)
  • Fibula: thin bone on the side of the lower leg

The lower leg contains two long bones, called the tibia and fibula. The front of the tibia is called the shin. The muscles of the lower leg control movement of the foot and ankle.

The tibialis anterior muscle is the largest muscle in the front of the leg. It raises, or dorsiflexes the foot (opposite of pointing the toes).

Leg anatomy examples:
  • Muscles and bones of the leg
  • Regions of the lower leg where tenderness may be a sign of a fracture
  • Tibialis anterior muscle

Last Updated: Nov 3, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Strained Muscle Shin References
  1. Francisco AC, Nightingale RW, Guilak F, Glisson RR, Garrett WE Jr. Comparison of soccer shin guards in preventing tibia fracture. Am J Sports Med. 2000 Mar-Apr;28(2):227-33. [10751000]
  2. Jensen A, Dahl S. Stress fracture of the distal tibia and fibula through heavy lifting. Am J Ind Med. 2005 Feb;47(2):181-3. [15662637]
  3. Thacker SB, Gilchrist J, Stroup DF, Kimsey CD. The prevention of shin splints in sports: a systematic review of literature. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002 Jan;34(1):32-40. [11782644]
  4. Wilder RP, Sethi S. Overuse injuries: tendinopathies, stress fractures, compartment syndrome, and shin splints. Clin Sports Med. 2004 Jan;23(1):55-81, vi. [15062584]
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