O.E. scinu "shin," from P.Gmc. *skino "thin piece" (cf. Du. scheen, O.H.G. scina, Ger. Schienbein "shin, shinbones"), from PIE base *skei- "to cut, split." The verb meaning "to climb by using arms and legs" (originally a nautical word) is recorded from 1829. A shin-plaster was a piece of paper soaked in vinegar and used to treat sore legs; in U.S. history, it was used jocularly for "devalued low-denomination paper currency" (1824). Shin splints is attested from 1930.