Read below about shin lump, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your shin lump from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Shin Lump Symptoms

The shin is the area in front of the leg below the knee. It contains the tibia, (also called the shinbone) which can usually be easily felt with palpation, and the fibula, a smaller bone of the lower leg. See this image for a visual representation of the bones in the shin.

Main symptoms

A lump in this area may feel strange as it is often associated with symptoms such as:

Less concerning symptoms

New lumps and bumps on the body are also concerning since they can be the initial sign of a cancerous process. However, there are signs and symptoms that are reassuring. Lumps in the shin are less concerning if they have the following characteristics [1]:

  • Soft
  • Easily mobile
  • Get smaller in size with rest

More concerning symptoms

Lumps in the shin that require prompt follow-up include the following characteristics [1]:

  • Hard
  • Rigid/stuck in place
  • Grows in size over time

Make an appointment with your physician if you experience these symptoms in order to get appropriate treatment and counseling.

Shin Lump Causes

There are various specific structures within the shin region — muscles, nerves, and bones.

  • Muscles: The main muscle of the shin is called the tibialis anterior muscle. This muscle attaches to bones in the foot and allows you to flex the foot toward the shin (dorsiflexion).
  • Nerves: The nerves that provide sensation and innervation to the shin area, as well as parts of the foot, arise from the deep peroneal nerve (common fibular nerve). This nerve and its branches give sensation to the shin as well as the ankle and foot.
  • Bones: As discussed above, the shin is composed of the tibia and the fibula.

There are also various tendons, ligaments, and arteries throughout this area. Conditions that affect these structures can result in shin lumps and can be categorized as benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Benign

Benign (non-cancerous) causes of shin lumps include [3]:

  • Traumatic: Trauma to the knee/shin area from minor events such as bumping a table or falling,or serious events such as a motor vehicle accident, can result in shin lumps. Repetitive injury to the knee area, especially before the bones of the leg have completed growing, can also result in a lump in the shin. This condition is known as Osgood-Schlatter disease [2]. It is common in young people who play sports that involve running, jumping and climbing, such as basketball or gymnastics.
  • Inflammatory: Some inflammatory conditions, such as erythema nodosum and other forms of panniculitis, can result in multiple bumps in the shin that can be red and fairly tender. Panniculitis is a group of inflammatory diseases that affect the fatty tissue under the skin and result in skin nodules.
  • Cysts: Cysts are sacs that can be filled with fluid, air or other material that can form in any part of the body. Cysts can occur in the shin and cause pain that can lead to injury from constant inflammation.

Malignant

In general, any growth is the result of cells dividing and growing uncontrollably. Sometimes there is a genetic mutation in DNA or a specific protein or failure in an important checkpoint that results in this unchecked growth. These abnormal cells accumulate to form a noticeable lump. A lump (also known as a tumor) can be benign; however, if this lump grows and invades the body it is considered malignant (cancerous).

9 Possible Conditions

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced shin lump. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

  1. 1.Lipoma

    A lipoma is a noncancerous growth of fatty tissue cells. A lipoma can develop in almost any organ of the body although they are most commonly found in the subcutaneous layer just below the skin.

    Resolves with treatment

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    skin-colored groin bump, marble sized groin lump, small groin lump
    Symptoms that always occur with lipoma:
    skin-colored groin bump
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  2. 2.Skin Cyst

    An epidermoid cyst is a closed sac under the skin filled with a cheese-like or oily material. It is caused by trauma or surgery.

    Resolves with treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    skin-colored armpit bump, marble sized armpit lump, small armpit lump
    Symptoms that always occur with skin cyst:
    skin-colored armpit bump
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  3. 3.Skin Abscess

    A skin abscess is an infection of the deeper skin that's typically due to bacteria seen on the skin. Recently, infections are more frequently caused by Staph. Aureus (puts the "staph" in "staph infections"), which is dangerous and requires treatment.

    Good prognosis with treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    rash with bumps or blisters, red rash, red skin bump larger than 1/2 cm in diameter, pus-filled rash, rash
    Symptoms that always occur with skin abscess:
    rash with bumps or blisters
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Dermatofibroma

    Dermatofibroma (superficial benign fibrous histiocytoma) is a common cutaneous nodule of unknown etiology that occurs more often in women. Dermatofibroma frequently develops on the extremities (mostly the lower legs) and is usually asymptomatic, although pruritus and tenderness can be present

    Resolves with treatment

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    small facial lump, pink or red facial bump, face itch, skin-colored facial bump, painful facial bump
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch

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  5. 5.Basal Cell Carcinoma

    Basal cell carcinoma is a slow-growing form of skin cancer. Skin cancer falls into two major groups: Non-melanoma and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    facial skin changes, pink or red facial bump, small facial lump, painless facial bump, growing facial lump
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Cherry Angioma

    A cherry angioma is a noncancerous (benign) skin growth made up of blood vessels.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    small armpit lump, constant armpit lump, cherry red armpit bump
    Symptoms that always occur with cherry angioma:
    small armpit lump, cherry red armpit bump, constant armpit lump
    Symptoms that never occur with cherry angioma:
    painful armpit lump
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  7. 7.Hemangioma (a Common, Benign Skin Change)

    A hemangioma is a birthmark that most often appears as a bright red, rubbery nodule of extra blood vessels in the skin. It is sometimes called a "strawberry mark," and it grows within the first year of life.

    Will recede over time, and usually no trace is left by age 10.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    growing armpit lump, cherry red armpit bump, shrinking armpit lump
    Symptoms that always occur with hemangioma (a common, benign skin change):
    cherry red armpit bump
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  8. 8.Lower Leg Weakness

    Any leg weakness is a sign of nerve damage, which is very worrisome and requires you to go see a doctor immediately!

    MISSING

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    lower leg weakness, foot weakness, arm weakness, loss of vision, severe pelvis pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  9. 9.Melanoma

    Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. Often the first sign of melanoma is a change in the size, shape, color, or feel of a mole. Most melanomas have a black or black-blue area. Melanoma may also appear as a new mole. It may be black, abnormal, or "ugly looking."

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    brown-colored skin changes, atypical features of a facial bump, black-colored skin changes, growing facial lump, large facial lump
    Symptoms that always occur with melanoma:
    atypical features of a facial bump
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Shin Lump Treatments, Relief and Prevention

Since the causes of shin lumps are varied, it is important to make an appointment with your physician in order to get the proper diagnosis and treatment. Depending on the cause of your symptoms, your physician may suggest:

  • Surgery: Surgery is often the first-line option for removing both benign and malignant growths from the shin and other areas of the body. Surgery for malignant growths is also often combined with other chemical treatments.

  • Pain medication: Medications such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents) that help alleviate the pain associated with shin lumps are often used to help treat this condition.

  • Anti-inflammatory: Inflammatory causes of shin lumps may be treated with various types of medications that target and decrease inflammation, including immune system suppressing drugs (immunosuppressants).

  • Cancer Treatment: If your shin lump and associated symptoms are due to malignant cancer, your physician will discuss treatment options including surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.

At-home treatments

In the meantime, supportive measures such as resting and leg elevation combined with icing and warm, compression bandages may also help alleviate swelling and discomfort. You can remember these methods with the mnemonic RICE (rest, ice, elevation, and compression). If your shin lump lessens or goes away with these supportive measures, your condition is most likely not life-threatening.

FAQs About Shin Lump

Here are some frequently asked questions about shin lump.

Will the lump in my shin go away on its own?

Depending on the cause, there is a possibility that the lump and the accompanying pain will go away on its own. If the shin lump is a cyst or caused by trauma or repetitive injury, the likelihood that it will go away on its own is high. However, if the shin lump is a benign or malignant tumor, it will not resolve on its own and will require follow-up.

Will the lump spread from one shin to the other?

If the lump is red or multiple lumps appear on one leg, this is most likely an inflammatory etiology like erythema nodosum. These bumps may spread and affect the other leg in the first few weeks; however, they can be easily treated and often resolve on their own. Other causes of shin lumps, on the other hand, usually do not spread from one shin to the other.

Is the lump chronic or temporary?

A shin lump may be temporary or chronic depending on the cause. A chronic shin lump is more associated with benign or malignant growths whereas temporary lumps are more associated with traumatic or inflammatory causes.

How will the lump affect my daily activities?

A shin lump can be very painful and uncomfortable, but those related to trauma or repetitive activity should not affect your day-to-day in the long-term. After a traumatic event, bed rest and limited activity on the affected shin will help with recovery, but after full recovery, knee or leg function should not be significantly affected. A shin lump associated with a benign or malignant growth may cause fatigue or unexplained weight loss, which may affect your energy to complete tasks. See your physician promptly if you feel like your symptoms are significantly affecting your life.

What can I do to prevent the development of shin lumps

It is very difficult to prevent the development of shin lumps. The only situations in which the development of shin lumps may be prevented are those related to a repetitive injury. It may help to limit activities that require a lot of jumping or running, and instead participate in cross-training activities that limit stress on the joints.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Shin Lump

  • Q.What color is the bump?
  • Q.Is your lower leg bump painful to touch?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Do you have a rash?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our shin lump symptom checker to find out more.

Shin Lump Quiz

Shin Lump Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced shin lump have also experienced:

    • 16% Shin Pain
    • 11% Shin Skin Changes
    • 8% Lower Leg Pain
  • People who have experienced shin lump had symptoms persist for:

    • 39% Over a Month
    • 22% Less Than a Week
    • 14% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced shin lump were most often matched with:

    • 100% Skin Abscess
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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References

  1. Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. (2018). Lumps and Bumps on Your Body: When You Should Worry. CC Link.
  2. disease, O. (2018). Osgood-Schlatter disease: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Medlineplus.gov. Medline Link.
  3. Urmc.rochester.edu. (2018). Orthopaedic Tumor Care - UR Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center - Rochester, NY. URMC Link.
  4. Elizabeth Race, J. (2018). Painful nodule with induration and spreading erythema. PubMed Central (PMC). NCBI Link.