The clinical entity, "shin splints," is now being recognized, and more specifically characterized by the findings of exercise-induced pain and tenderness to palpation along the posterior medial border of the tibia. In this prospective study, ten patients with this syndrome were evaluated using three-phase bone scintigrams, and a specific scintigraphic pattern was determined. Radionuclide angiograms and blood-pool images were all normal. On delayed images, tibial lesions involved the posterior cortex, were longitudinally oriented, were long, involving one third of the length of the bone, and often showed varying tracer uptake along that length. Obtaining both lateral and medial views was crucial. The location of activity suggested that this entity is related to the soleus muscle. These scintigraphic findings can be used to differentiate shin splints from stress fractures or other conditions causing pain in the lower leg in athletes.