What causes Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome?
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) occurs due to irritation at the point where the calf muscles attach to the shin bone. It is common in sports with frequent stops and starts, running on slanted or downhill surfaces, and can be exacerbated by training errors, worn shoes, and changes in training intensity, duration, and surface. Other risk factors for MTSS include improper ankle and foot alignment and lack of lower extremity flexibility.
What are the symptoms of Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome?
Individuals usually experience pain along the shin bone that can range from a dull ache to a sharp and intense pain, commonly located on the inside border of the shin bone, usually in its middle or lower third. The pain may start early in the activity and diminish with continued exercise or persist throughout. Resting usually relieves the pain, but in severe cases, it may persist even without activity and during rest. This persistent pain and other symptoms could indicate a stress fracture, a more severe injury.
How is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome Diagnosed?
Your physical therapist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation, which includes taking a complete health history and observing you during activities that cause symptoms, such as running or jumping. To assess your musculoskeletal system, they will also perform tests to evaluate your strength, mobility, flexibility, and pain response. Applying pressure to specific areas on the shin produces the most indicative symptom of MTSS: pain.
Based on the examination results, your physical therapist will discuss your treatment goals and develop a personalized rehabilitation program if MTSS is suspected. In case of a possible underlying severe condition, referral to a physician for additional tests may be necessary.