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What are shin splints?

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), commonly referred to as ‘shin splints,’ is the pain and inflammation of muscles, tendons and bone tissue around your tibia, or ‘shinbone.’

What are the symptoms?

MTSS typically presents as pain along the inside edge of your lower leg. Mild swelling in the area may also occur. The pain may be sharp and razor-like, or dull and throbbing. The onset of pain is usually during and after exercise and can be aggravated by palpating the area.

What causes MTSS?

MTSS usually develops when muscles and bone tissue (periosteum) in the leg become overworked by repetitive activity. Long distance running, excessive jumping and sports which require a sudden change of direction such as basketball or tennis can increase the risk of MTSS. Overuse may also occur due to sudden changes in physical activity, such as a rapid increase in the frequency, duration or intensity of exercise. Excessive running on hard or uneven surfaces and wearing poor-fitting running shoes can also result in MTSS. Lastly, biomechanical abnormalities of the foot such as over-pronation or collapsing of the foot arch whilst under load can also result in an increased risk of MTSS.

Treatment and Management:

  1. Rest from the aggravating activity e.g. a break from running to help reduce inflammation and irritation

  2. Ice and anti-inflammatories: topical cool packs or anti-inflammation cream can help decrease and soothe pain associated with repetitive strain

  3. Supportive footwear: ensuring your foot-ware especially during sports or activity is the correct fit for your biomechanics, running style and terrain. Having the correct fit will ensure appropriate load transfer and shock absorption is occurring at the foot, ankle and leg.

  4. Manual therapy and myotherapy intervention: soft tissue treatment to help address muscle tension surrounding the inflamed tissue, as well as patient education and a graded loading/exercise program once symptoms have cleared

  5. Stretching and strengthening: your myotherapist will be able to prescribe you lower-body exercises and stretches for the affected area and surrounding musculature, to ensure long-term management and prevention of MTSS.

If you would like to find out how we can help you please call 94897511 and speak to one of our experienced Myotherapist’s.


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