Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) or commonly known as shin splints, is an inflammatory reaction caused by the excessive pulling of the anterior shin muscles and tendons as they attach to the underlying shin bone. Tendons and muscles attach to the shin bone via a layer of connecting tissue called the periosteum. The periosteum in these injuries becomes damaged due to the forceful contraction of the anterior shin muscles and when severe can lead to the development of stress fractures in the shin bone. Weak anterior shin musculature, incorrect foot wear, poor feet/lower limb biomechanics and changing activity from soft to hard surfaces have all shown to increase the risk of developing this injury.
Signs and Symptoms:
- MTSS Pain is typically along the inside border of the shin bone towards the lower third of the shin but shin splints can affect any part of the shin.
- Pain initially with exercise but may subside once area/muscles warm up.
- After exercise the pain may return due to inflammation developing.
- Tight bands or nodules can be felt down the shin and may be painful to touch.
- Excessive foot pronation is evident.