Tibia: Definition and What it is

Medically and clinically reviewed by Jonathan Lee, MD and Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT

Tibia Definition and Meaning

The tibia, also known as the shinbone, is located in the lower leg. It runs from the knee down to the ankle. The tibia bone provides stability and support to the leg and facilitates essential movements like walking, running, and jumping. The tibia is one of the two long bones in the lower leg; the other is the fibula

Anatomy of the Tibia

The tibia's anatomy includes two ends and a shaft. The upper end, or proximal end, connects to the knee joint. The shaft, or body of the tibia, provides a surface for muscle attachment. The lower end, or distal end, is smaller and connects to the ankle bone, contributing to the ankle joint's structure.

Function of the Tibia

As a weight-bearing bone, the tibia is integral to movement. It transfers the weight of the body from the knee to the foot. The tibia also provides attachment points for muscles and ligaments, contributing to the stability and movement of the leg.

Common tibia-related injuries include: shin splints, which cause pain in the lower leg, especially along the inner side of the tibia; osteoarthritis, which can affect the tibial joint surfaces, leading to pain and mobility issues at the knee joint; and posterior tibial tendinitis, which occurs when the posterior tibial tendon that supports your foot’s arch becomes irritated, leading to pain and swelling in the ankle or on the inside of the foot.

Tibia Pain: A Hinge Health Perspective

The tibia — the second largest bone in the human body — is very resilient and designed to recover from the kinds of issues that naturally can happen in the course of everyday activities or during exercise.

If you’re reluctant to move because you think you’ll cause more damage or injury to your shinbone, know this: Movement is often the fastest way to healing. As our Hinge Health care team says, movement is medicine. Movement helps rehab the tibial muscles, tendons, and ligaments by increasing blood flow and gradually improving the lower leg’s strength and flexibility.

Physical therapy can aid in the treatment and recovery of many tibia-related conditions. A physical therapist (PT) can show you specific stretching and strengthening exercises for your lower leg that may help your shins feel better. You can see a physical therapist in person or use a program like Hinge Health to access a PT via telehealth/video visit.

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program.

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you. 

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. 

Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.


  1. Bourne, M., & Murphy, P. B. (2018, December 9). Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb: Tibia. NIH; StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526053/

  2. Bhusari, N., Deshmukh, M. (2023). Shin Splint: A Review. Cureus, 15(1). doi:10.7759/cureus.33905

  3. Gattie, E., Cleland, J. A., & Snodgrass, S. (2017). The Effectiveness of Trigger Point Dry Needling for Musculoskeletal Conditions by Physical Therapists: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 47(3), 133–149. doi:10.2519/jospt.2017.7096

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