Periostitis is a condition that results in inflammation of the band of tissue that surrounds your bones known as the periosteum.

This condition typically affects people who repetitively:

  • jump
  • run
  • lift heavy weights

If you’re an avid runner, you may be familiar with shin splints, which are a type of periostitis. Repetitive stress on the tibia, or shinbone, causes shin splints. 


Acute periostitis is due to infection, characterized by diffuse formation of pus, severe pain, constitutional symptoms, and usually results in necrosis. It can be caused by excessive physical activity as well, as in the case of medial tibial stress syndrome (also referred to as tibial periostalgia, soleus periostalgia, or shin splints). Congenital infection with syphilis can also cause periostitis in newborn infants.


Symptoms are described as acute or chronic.

Acute periostitis symptoms

The symptoms of acute periostitis can include:

  • intense pain
  • difficulty bearing weight on the affected limb
  • pus formation
  • fever
  • chills
  • swelling of the tissue surrounding the bone

Chronic periostitis symptoms

Chronic periostitis, or even temporary bouts of shin splints and similar injuries, also causes swelling and inflammation.

The bones affected by noninfectious periostitis may also ache and be tender to the touch. People who have chronic periostitis may not appear as ill as those who have acute periostitis.

While periostitis often affects the bones in your legs, it can also affect the long bones in your arms and the spine.

How to diagnose periostitis?

  • X-ray, which may reveal fractures or signs of damage due to infection
  • MRI scan, which can provide a detailed look at the bone and the surrounding soft tissue
  • bone scans to determine if an infection is present
  • complete blood count to determine your white blood cell count and look for evidence of infection

This condition will be rated on limitation of motion of affected body part.

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