The following was written by FX Physical Therapy on August 13, 2021, courtesy of Shin Splints: What are they? Why do they happen? What can you do about them? – FX Physical Therapy.
Shin splints, technically known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) affects 5-35% of runners. It involves pain on the inside of the lower leg that occurs with running and typically develops gradually.
Though some aspects of the pathology remain unclear, we do know it involves the interaction of the tibialis posterior, flexor digitorum longus muscles; possibly the soleus muscle; the crural fascia (a connective tissue in the lower leg); and their attachment onto the tibia bone. In prolonged, chronic cases we see a stress reaction in the bone where there is an inflammatory response in the outer layer called the periosteum.
How do I know if I have Shin Splints/MTSS?
MTSS has some specific and consistent characteristics that differentiate it from other lower leg injuries:
The location of the pain (medial tibia), size of the pain area (>5cm), and provocation and reduction of pain (increases with activity and decreases with rest) are the characteristics that differentiate MTSS from other conditions such as tibial stress fracture, chronic exertional compartment syndrome, or soleus strain.
What are the Risk Factors for Shin Splints/MTSS?
How to Manage Stress Fractures/MTSS
Management for MTSS is multifaceted. Here is where you can start:
Modify running volume and intensity:
Have your gait assessed:
Improve your mobility and stability:
Medial tibial stress syndrome is a condition that many runners have experienced at some time over their running careers. The good news is, with appropriate management, it does not have to be a chronic or recurrent condition. If you find yourself with the symptoms mentioned above, get an appointment with a physical therapist who works with runners. They can look at the risk factors, your training and running experience, your gait, and your flexibility and strength to create a program that will quickly and sustainably get you back on your feet!
Have questions regarding your aches, pains and performance? Send FX Physical Therapy a message today to get in contact with a doctor.