Medial Tibial stress syndrome (periostitis of the medial distal margin of the tibia) or ‘shin splints’ is a common complaint in athletes, especially those who change activity level or intensity over a short period of time, change of training surface, change of training shoe, alteration of technique (e.g. forefoot running from heel striking), but the most common is intensive training on hard tracks, streets or floors.
This syndrome can be triggered by running and other jumping sports, the main cause of the pain being repeated landing and take off from the surface. Runners who run with externally rotated feet (‘Charlie Chaplin runners’) and increased pronation can be a contributory cause.
Good preventative measures are to change training surface, duration and intensity gradually, warm up, cool down and stretch the posterior compartment muscles(Gastrocnemius, Soleus, Posterior Tibial, Flexor Hallucis Longus) regularly. I also find working on foot mobility including rolling the Plantar Fascia with a ball useful.
For treatment in my clinic I will conduct a thorough consultation looking at training plans/goals, training shoes and foot type.I will then asses the injury to get an accurate diagnosis and to rule out other lower leg pathologies including Posterior Compartment Syndrome or Stress Fracture etc. I will then, if appropriate massage the lower leg, both posterior and anterior compartments and apply Kinesiology Tape to off-load the affected area (as pictured ). I find this to be very effective, combined with cross training on a bike and swimming and temporary rest from running, excellent results can be achieved.