Shin Splints

So Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), better known as Shin Splints, is common running injury. It is especially common in people who are getting into running, maybe for the first time or after a long period off. It’s also common in runners who are trying to up their mileage, or in other words, upping their load.

What is Shin Splints? When it’s an umbrella term for pain around the shins. The most common is MTSS, which is essentially stress on your Tibia (shin bone) due to external impact.

So how does it happen? When we run there are impact forces that go through the body when we land. If we are not conditioned well enough to absorb these forces then it can causes excess stress on areas of the body, one of which is the Tibia. Overtime the impact forces causes continued stress to the bone, causing it to become painful due to damage.

Now the severity of this can range from a bit an irritation of the bone right through to a fracture within the bone. I often hear “it’s just shin splints” this should never be downplayed as the there is a potential that this is a big injury.

There is a pretty big list of factors that can contribute to the onset of MTSS, I’ve tried to condense the list into a smaller one:

-Poor load management – best thing to do is read this article, but essentially you made too big of a jump in your running milage and your body wasn’t ready for it

-Strength: strong muscles, especially Calf’s, absorb the impact forces and hence reduce the stress going through the Tibia

-Footwear: a potential change in footwear could change the impact forces on the Tibia

-Running surface: harder surfaces = more impact

-Structural alignment: impossible to change but the shape of your tibia could actual increase the stress going through it

-Lower limb control: if you have poor stability around your hips, then this increases the stress going through your foot, ankle and Tibia

-Running gait: people who run on their heels increase the stress through their tibia, if you can run on the mid part of your foot you’ll reduce the risk of injury 

When I see people with MTSS they generally have deficiencies in at least one of the above factors. However, there are lots of other factors including diet, recovery and bodyweight that can contribute to MTSS and you may need to look further afield to get to the bottom of your injury.

Unpicking the reason that you’re injured with MTSS can be quite complex and it’s good to have the input of an experienced professional to help you do that.

Disclaimer: This is purely information regarding a type of injury and should not be taken as medical advice. If you are experiencing an injury you should seek proper medical advice from a professional. Book in with one of our team to help your recovery if you’re suffering from Shin Splints.

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