Ask The Expert
April 11, 2011
Sharp, shooting pains that travel from one area of the body to the next are often caused by an irritated or pinched nerve.
You describe pain in both shins.
Do you feel the shooting pains in one shin or the other at different times? If so, it may be nerve damage from your diabetes.
Or do you always get the shooting pains in both shins at exactly the same time? While it could be the diabetes, you may never find out for sure why this is happening.
It's common to have sharp, shooting pains that last only a few seconds. They can happen anywhere in the body. And you don't need to have diabetes for this to happen. The good news is that if the pains don't happen often and truly last only seconds, they're almost never serious.
Some people have persistent shooting pains that flare up throughout the day. This can be very distressing. Usually, I treat this as I would other painful nerve problems (neuropathies). Helpful medicines include lidocaine skin patches, amitriptyline (Elavil), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor) and gabapentin (Neurontin). Generic versions of these medicines are available.