Medial tibial stress syndrome is a common problem in runners. In the past medial tibial stress syndrome used to be called shin splints, due to its similarity to what occurred in race horses. Medial tibial stress syndrome is a stress that occurs at the insertion of muscles into the bone of the leg. It is not totally clear exactly what it is. It could be a strain of the muscle insertion, an inflammation of the periosteum that surrounds the bone or a stress reaction of the bone itself. The pain of medial tibial stress syndrome is felt along the medial border of the tibia bone, usually around the middle third of the bone. Initially medial tibial stress syndrome is only painful on palpation, but later it goes on to interfere with the running and training.
The most common cause of medial tibial stress syndrome is thought to be overuse, particularly if doing too much training too soon. Tight calf muscles and poor foot biomechanics are also thought to contribute. The treatment of medial tibial stress syndrome is to reduce running mileage and substitute it with another activity such as swimming or cycling. Advice needs to be given on the training routines. Medial tibial stress syndrome also benefits from foot orthotics and a good pair of running shoes. On rare occasions surgery is needed for medial tibial stress syndrome.
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