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Shin Splints Physiotherapy (MTTS Physiotherapy)

You might have started jogging in your local area or at Park Runs or progressed to marathons; you may even be addicted to the runners high! People who take up running or very suddenly increase their distances often end up with pain around the shin bone area. Although this pain is commonly referred to as “shin splints”, this term is quite inaccurate and should be referred to as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS – pain on the inside of the shinbone area), not exactly easy to say but more accurate in describing what is going on.

Shin Splints Physiotherapy

What are Shin Splints or MTTS?

MTSS is something that happens when the muscle that inserts behind the tibia (shin bone) begins to actually pull away from the bone. There is a lining that covers the bone referred to as a “sheath”, known as the periosteum. Due to this pulling action, this sheath can become inflamed and painful. The problem with someone who has no knowledge of what is going on is that they may continue to run through the pain and make things worse, eventually leading to a stress fracture. This type of fracture is different to a traumatic fracture, which might occur due to a sudden accident. It is more of a silent assassin and may commence with low levels of inflammation beginning at the periosteum, progressively going into the actual bone.

What are the causes of Shin Splints / MTTS?

This type of injury falls under the category of ‘repetitive strain injury’, the kind which runners often struggle with. The trainers we wear, the surfaces we run on, the frequency and intensity at which we run are all factors that can affect someone and ultimately a combination of which can cause overuse injuries.

Lack of rest, muscle stiffness and weak glutes are all factors that might contribute to over-pronation of the foot, (also known as flat foot), as can wearing the wrong running shoes. Your objective should be to achieve the right amount of pronation and supination in order to run efficiently, allowing for optimal shock absorption. It is normally over-pronation that leads to MTSS.

The other factor that contributes to this condition is the training program itself: a sudden increase in your level of running or taking up running as a new hobby.

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How can Shin Splints physiotherapy help?

In instances where pain from shin splints does not resolve, a trained physio can help guide you to improve and ultimately eliminate your levels of pain. Your physio will be able to assess your condition and look for biomechanical abnormalities and muscle imbalances which could be impacting the way you perform your activity. Where appropriate, a physio can also refer you back to your doctor if further investigations (for instance, X-rays) are required.

If you choose Full Motion Physio

My approach is described in the Full Motion Method page. Extensive research has identified four essential elements for the best physiotherapy. The Full Motion Method covers each of these elements.

I will tailor your treatment specifically to your body and your condition. We will review and refine the treatment throughout your recovery. Your input at each stage is an essential part of the process. My aim is to be a partner in your recovery.
The end result is more than simply fixing your current symptoms. I will help you understand your condition and how specific exercises aid recovery. And I will guide you on injury prevention.

One last point: Early diagnosis and intervention minimises the risk of the injury getting worse. 

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