Lowcountry Orthopedics - AT Corner
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (AKA: Shin Splints)
What is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome?
Medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) is an overuse injury or repetitive-stress injury of the shin area. Various stress reactions of the tibia (AKA: the shin) and surrounding muscles occur when the body is unable to heal properly in response to repetitive muscle contractions and tibial strain.
MTSS is most often found in runners, football, basketball, soccer, and dancing.
What can I do to feel less pain?
Please note that you need to be consistent in your treatment plan for results with the conservative treatment options below. Doing these things one time will not fix a chronic problem.
Calf stretching is number one priority. Muscle imbalance and lack of flexibility of the back of the leg can cause the front of the leg to become more stressed. Stretching the calf muscles (Gastroc and Soleus complex) is a great place to start. Stretch these muscles twice a day. Each set should contain a stretch of each muscle 3 times with a 30 second hold.
If you want to know how to stretch each muscle and properly, refer to Youtube, TikTok, or Google!
Train on the same surface you play. A change in constant surfaces can cause increased pain in the shin. If you typically play on grass, try to do all training on grass. Doing extra running on the sidewalks, asphalt, or treadmills can cause the shin pain to increase due to the body not being used to the surface change.
Rehabilitate your ankles. Basic ankle exercise can be utilized to reduce ankle injuries, but also help your muscles adapt to changes in surfaces. Your body is a kinetic chain, which means everything is connected.
Once again, if you want to know easy ankle exercises, refer to Youtube, TikTok, or Google!
Ice massage, not just putting an ice pack on the knee. Ice is wonderful for after a game, but for any tendon issues, ice massage is a more efficient way to treat the injury. To make ice massage cups, freeze water in any paper cup. You can peel away the cup to reveal the block of ice. Sitting with your knee bent, massage the shin for 7 minutes. This works best if you do it after activity. NEVER ice before activity.
Rest. This is the best way to help the pain calm down. This injury is directly correlated to an increase in training, duration, and intensity. If you can rest, take advantage of it. Remember, continue to stretch, ice, and do rehab even if you have a rest period from soccer.
Should I see a physician for this?
Ignoring severe symptoms of MTSS without treatment can lead to surgery. If the pain persists to the point of being unable to play, or none of the treatments above work over an extended period, please see a physician. Our physicians at LowCountry Orthopaedics can always see you at any of our locations!