Shin splints, also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), is a condition affecting the leg’s shin area. It is characterized by pain along the inner edge of the tibia, which is often caused by overuse of the surrounding muscles and tendons. Pain in this area is often caused by inflammation of the muscles, which can be triggered by too much exercise or incorrect exercise techniques. This inflammation may be due to tiny tears in the muscle fibers that cannot heal properly because of overload or poor biomechanics.
Shin splints can also result from poor footwear, weak muscles around the ankle joint, hard surfaces for running on, or an uneven stride length. Shin splints may present with tenderness along the inside of your tibia, localized swelling near that area, and pain during physical activity or rest – all of which contribute to decreased flexibility in the area. Correctly diagnosing shin splints is essential for the successful management of symptoms. Two common types are medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) and anterior compartment syndrome (ACS). MTSS involves inflammation in muscles on the outer part of the leg bone, while ACS develops from nerve compression due to tight calf muscles.
Treatment typically includes rest from activities that cause pain, strengthening and stretching exercises tailored to the condition, icing where necessary, and potentially anti-inflammatory medications depending on severity. Increased physical activity can lead to shin splints, which is why prevention is key. Make sure you properly warm up before exercise with stretches tailored toward the muscles. Last but not least, make sure to give your body breaks.