What is it?
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), also commonly called “shin splints” is a condition where pain is experienced in the lower two-thirds of the shin. Common among runners and jumping athletes, pain may occur both during and after exercise, and is more common in female athletes than males.
What do people experience?
Most people experience MTSS after a change to their activity. Whether returning to activity after a break, or starting a new activity altogether, MTSS is commonly caused by “too much, too soon, too quickly.”
MTSS is characterized by sharp pain along the inside of the shin, but other symptoms include:
- Pain after exercise
- Muscular pain along either side of the shin
- Pain that is “sore to the touch”
- An increase in pain or difficulty running up or down hills
MTSS is an injury that is affected by factors both internal and external to the athlete themselves.
Internal factors include:
- Previous history of MTSS
- Increased BMI
- Starting a new activity, or returning after a prolonged absence
- Lower arches (increased navicular drop)
External factors include:
- Running on hard surfaces
- Old or worn-out footwear
- High impact activities (basketball, volleyball, jumping sports)
- Hill running (uphill or downhill)
Options for treatment
There are several conservative options for treating MTSS, ranging from a simple footwear change to a comprehensive plan including physiotherapy, orthotics, and activity modification.
Footwear is usually the first step in addressing symptoms of MTSS. Worn-out footwear often has lost the shock absorption or support you may need to avoid becoming injured.
Stretching and Strengthening is another common intervention. Ensuring that you have adequate flexibility in your calf muscles can minimize the symptoms of MTSS.
Modified training can help during the recovery period to avoid exacerbating the injury. Low-impact cross training such as swimming, elliptical training, or cycling can help to decrease pain.
If conservative treatment is not providing enough relief, a more aggressive treatment plan including custom orthotics and physiotherapy might be required.
For more information, check out our Injury Locator.
Still have questions? Contact your SoleScience Pedorthist for an individual assessment.