Shin Splints or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome

Updated: Feb 19

Stress Fracture, compartment syndrome, medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), periostitis of medial tibia due to attachment of soleus and it contracting eccentrically

– Overpronation – Sudden increase in training – Running in spikes & forefoot strikers + hard surfaces – Sports with repeated landing and take off – Insufficient warm up – Tight soleus muscles – Tenderness over medial tibia – Swelling, lumps and bumps over the bone – Pain on plantarflexion.

– R.I.C.E when acute – Correct the overpronation – Behavioural/training change

Shin splints Shin splints or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) is the common name for pain or discomfort in you shins(lower leg at front, that is usually caused by exercise.

It is common in people who are repeated putting a lot of weight on their legs , e.g, running, tennis, basketball home Hiit training, skipping.

It isn’t usually too serious, but if you ignore it, it may get worse. It’s important not to run through the pain.

Symptoms of shin splints The main symptom of MTSS is pain in the shin bones, which run down the front of your lower legs.

The pain in your shins tend to:

– begin soon after you start exercising. – gradually improve when resting, – be dull and achy to begin with, but may become increasingly sharp or severe and stop you exercising, – affect both shins, – be felt over a large part of the shin (an area up to and over 5 cm across) – there may also be some swelling.

What causes it? It’s not always clear what causes it

It is usually brought on by running or repetitive weight bearing on the legs. It’s thought this leads to swelling (inflammation) of the tissue around the shin bone.

Several things can increase your chances of getting shin splints, including:

– Sudden increase in training – Running in spikes & forefoot strikers + hard surfaces – Sports with repeated landing and take off – Insufficient warm up – Tight soleus muscles – Tenderness over medial tibia – Swelling, lumps and bumps over the bone – Pain on plantarflexion. – running on hard or uneven surfaces – wearing poorly fitting or worn-out trainers that don’t cushion and support your feet properly – being overweight – having flat feet or feet that roll inwards (known as over-pronation) – having tight calf muscles, weak ankles, or a tight Achilles tendon (the band of tissue connecting the heel to the calf muscle)

Treating shin splints at home Shin splints can usually be treated at home. The following may help relieve the pain and allow your legs to heal:

Rest – stop the activity that causes your shin splints for at least two to three weeks; you can then start gradually returning to your normal activities Ice – hold an ice pack against your shins (a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel works, too) for around 20 minutes every few hours for the first few days; this helps with pain and swelling pain relief – take over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, to help relieve the pain if you need to switch to low-impact activities – using a cross-trainer, cycling, swimming and yoga are good ways to keep fit without putting too much pressure on your shins while they heal You can start to return to your usual activities over the following few weeks once the pain has gone. Take care to increase your activity level gradually, building up the time you spend running or doing sports.

Make sure you follow the steps to prevent shin splints outlined below to reduce the risk of the pain coming back.

When to see your GP It’s a good idea to see your GP if your pain doesn’t improve despite the treatments mentioned above.

Your GP may:

ask about your symptoms and examine your legs to try to work out what’s causing your pain refer you for an X-ray or special scan of your legs – an X-ray may be normal, so a more detailed scan may be needed to help with diagnosis or identify other causes of lower leg pain refer you to a physiotherapist – they can assess your injury, show you some exercises, and recommend a suitable programme of activity refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon or a consultant in sport and exercise medicine Preventing shin splints The following measures may help reduce your chances of getting shin splints:

– wear trainers with appropriate cushioning and support

– it may help to speak to an expert at a specialist running shop for advice if you’re buying running shoes for the first time run and train on flat, soft surfaces, such as a recreation ground or playing field, -whenever possible introduce any changes to your activity level gradually mix high-impact exercises like running with low-impact exercises like swimming lose weight if you’re overweight improve your overall strength and flexibility warm up before exercising and stretch after exercising – in particular, stretching your calves and the front of your legs may help Speak to a foot specialist called a podiatrist if you have flat feet or your feet roll inwards. They may recommend supportive inserts for your shoes (orthotics) to reduce the pressure on your shins.



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