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What are Shin Splints? Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS)

February . 21st . 2023 | General treatment

Shin splints is a type of injury resulting from overuse, which usually affects the middle to lower third portion of the tibia, or shinbone. It is recognized as a prevalent cause of shin pain among athletes, dancers, and military personnel, and it frequently causes significant frustration for runners.

What causes Shin Splints?

Shin Splints are a stress injury that is triggered by exercise and affects the inner (medial) surface of the lower third of the tibia. Although the exact mechanical mechanism of the disease remains unclear, it is believed to result from repetitive tension, overuse, and microtrauma to the soleus muscle and the periosteum (the bone’s connective tissue) along the tibia. Additionally, it is hypothesised that excessive loading causes the tibia to bend and bow, resulting in a stress reaction in the bone.

Here are some of the risk factors which can contribute to the development of Shin Splints.

  • Abnormal lower limb biomechanics, such as tibial varum and foot overpronation
  • Poor flexibility, muscle imbalance, and weakness, especially in the calf muscles
  • Participating in sports involving repetitive jumping and/or running
  • Poor running technique, such as overstriding
  • Sudden changes in training methods, such as an increase in exercise intensity, duration, or frequency
  • Training on hard or uneven surfaces
  • Using inappropriate or worn-out footwear

Symptoms you may experience with Shin Splints

  • Dull ache or burning sensation along the middle to lower third of the shin
  • Usually affects both legs
  • Tenderness when touching the affected area
  • Mild swelling in the affected area
  • Pain may occur at the start of exercise and decrease as exercise continues, but can reappear during rest, depending on the severity.

Diagnosis

In order to diagnose MTSS, we will:

  • Conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your general health, activity levels, and training loads
  • Perform a biomechanical assessment and gait analysis
  • Consider additional tests, such as an x-ray, MRI, or bone scan, if necessary to eliminate more severe conditions, such as tibial stress fractures, if we have any concerns.

How to get rid of shin splints?

The treatment for shin splints may involve the following:

  • Icing the painful area and initial rest to help reduce acute symptoms
  • Seeking professional assessment and treatment, especially if symptoms persist
  • Taping techniques and orthotics to address any biomechanical abnormalities
  • Supportive footwear with adequate shock absorption may be recommended
  • Manual therapies, such as soft and deep tissue massage, Shockwave therapy (ESWT), and laser therapy (LLLT), may also be used to complement the treatment plan
  • An exercise program to increase ankle range of motion, address muscle imbalances, build muscle strength, and ultimately reduce the risk of running injuries.

 

F. A. Q.

Are shin splints the same as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome?

The term “shin splints” is often used interchangeably with the term “medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS),” but they are not exactly the same thing.

Shin splints is a broad term that refers to any pain in the shin area, including pain caused by MTSS. However, MTSS specifically refers to pain and inflammation in the inner part of the shin bone (tibia), often caused by overuse, stress, and small injuries to the surrounding tissues.

In other words, MTSS is a specific type of shin splints that is caused by a particular set of factors, while the term “shin splints” is a more general description of any pain in the shin area.

What will happen if I continue running with Shin Splints?

If you continue running with shin splints, you risk making the condition worse and delaying your recovery.

The pain and discomfort associated with shin splints are signals that the tissues in the shin are under stress and need time to heal. Continuing to run with shin splints may aggravate the condition, leading to more pain and inflammation in the affected area. In severe cases, continuing to run with shin splints may also lead to stress fractures, which are more severe injuries that can require an even longer recovery period.

What’s the difference between Anterior Tibial Stress Syndrome and Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome?

Anterior tibial stress syndrome (ATSS) and medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) are two different conditions that are often confused due to their similar names and location of symptoms.

ATSS, also known as “shin splints,” refers to pain and inflammation that occur in the front part of the shinbone (tibia), along the outer side of the bone. This condition is typically caused by excessive stress on the muscles and tendons that attach to the front of the tibia, often due to repetitive activities like running or jumping.

MTSS, on the other hand, refers to pain and inflammation that occur on the inner side of the shinbone, in the lower two-thirds of the tibia. This condition is typically caused by repetitive stress on the muscles and connective tissue on the inner part of the tibia, which can occur during activities like running, jumping, or dancing.

Both conditions share some similar symptoms, such as pain, tenderness, and swelling in the affected area. However, the location and specific causes of the pain are different. ATSS is associated with pain and tenderness on the front outer aspect of the shinbone, while MTSS is associated with pain and tenderness on the inner part of the shinbone.

Shin splints is a type of injury resulting from overuse, which usually affects the middle to lower third portion of the tibia, or shinbone. It is recognized as a prevalent cause of shin pain among athletes, dancers, and military personnel, and it frequently causes significant frustration for runners.

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02 9037 7395
info@erkopodiatry.com.au
1/154 Henderson Rd, Alexandria NSW 2015 Jobs and Shellharbour Podiatry

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