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The Four Stages of Shin Splints


“Shin splints” is the term used to describe the pain occurring on the front, or border, of the shin. The correct terminology for shin splints is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS). This syndrome is a is a common complaint, especially among runners.

MTSS accounts for approximately 13-17% of all running injuries. Interestingly, MTSS is seen in runners who have increased too much speed rather than increasing distance. This is due to the extra stress that muscle be absorbed when increasing speed.

There are two main muscles involved in MTSS, the tibialis posterior and flexor digitorum longus. The repetitive eccentric contraction of these two muscles are what cause MTSS.

The repetitively pulling on the periosteum, which envelopes the bone, causes inflammation and in turn, pain. A healthy bone will adapt to stresses placed on it, but when stress it excessive and the bone no longer adapts, you end up with MTSS. If you continue to place stress upon the bone, you may end up causing a stress fracture.

The four stages of MTSS

Stage 1 – Pain or discomfort which disappears during warm up
Stage 2 – Pain or discomfort which disappears during warm up but may return at the end of activity
Stage 3 – Pain or discomfort which gets worse during activity
Stage 4 – Constant pain or discomfort

Osteopathic treatment can be very effective in the treatment and management of MTSS. Although the most effective strategy in the rehabilitation process. If you are feeling any discomfort or pain before you can see an Osteopath the best thing you can do is to REST.


Monica Round

This post was written by Dr Monica Bassier

You can find out more about Monica here or book an appointment with her here or alternatively call our clinic on 03 9908 2844

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