Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome

What is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome?
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), commonly known as ‘shin splints’ is one of the most common causes of lower extremity pain in runners. It is an overuse injury, caused by various stress reactions of the tibia and surrounding musculature when the body is unable to heal properly in response to repetitive muscle contraction and tibial strain.

Common symptoms of MTSS include a vague diffuse pain in the anterior shin associated with exercise. In its early stage, pain is often worse at the beginning of exercise, and subsides during training. However as the injury progresses, pain may be present with less activity, or even at rest. Training errors appear to be the most common factor associated with MTSS, especially as athletes attempt to do ‘too much too fast’. Running on hard or uneven surfaces is also a risk factor for MTSS, as well as biomechanical abnormalities and muscle imbalance and inflexibility. Muscle weakness leads to altered running mechanics and strain on the tibia.

What can we do about it?
During the acute phase, relative rest and cessation of sport for a short period may be required in order to settle symptoms down, depending on the severity of symptoms. In less severe cases, decreasing weekly running distance, frequency and intensity by 50%, and applying ice directly after exercise will likely improve symptoms without complete cessation of activity. After the acute phase, the goal of treatment should focus on modifying training regimes and addressing biomechanical abnormalities and muscle strengthening. Rehabilitation programmes should aim to increase load capacity in the calf complex, improve bone load capacity through weight bearing exercises and improve kinetic chain capacity by strengthening key muscles.

About Chapman Physiotherapy

At Chapman Physiotherapy Ltd we pride ourselves on offering a first class physiotherapy service in South Yorkshire. Based in Doncaster, our easily accessible location provides full disabled facilities and appointments are available from early morning to late evening.