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MTSS: How To Identify, Treat And Avoid It

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Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) is the medical term for a condition popularly known as shin splints. It belongs to the group of overuse injuries and is particularly common among runners. It is important to recognise the symptoms and undertake appropriate treatment followed by rehabilitation. A common mistake made by athletes is premature resumption of activity, which can increase the pain and aggravate the injury. So what are the signs of MTSS and how can athletes prevent it?

In its article on the subject, SportMedBC points out there is no consensus as to the specific causes of MTSS. Among the suggestions are increased stress on the tibia (shin bone) due to overuse, excessive load or BMI; leg/hip shape and structure; change in training techniques; inappropriate footwear or flat feet; and training surface or a change in training surface.

Typical signs of MTSS are pain and tenderness along the shin´s front medial edge. In some cases there is also swelling. The immediate course of action is to take a rest and apply ice packs to ease the pain and any swelling. The treatment also often includes anti-inflammatory medication. A key point injured athletes must keep in mind is that a consultation with a sports medicine specialist is essential for accurate diagnosis and treatment. In most cases, proper healing will require intervention by a qualified therapist.

There are several things athletes should pay attention to if they want to avoid MTSS. Necessary precautions include a good warm-up and appropriate footwear. It is also very important to ensure a gradual increase in training intensity.