Competitive sports are returning in Victoria post lockdown, and pre season for winter sports are about to get underway. Ursula, one of our Podiatrists’ at Pro Feet Podiatry Windsor, is predicting an increase in cases of overuse injuries due to the increase in training loads, especially for those that don’t normally do so or haven’t for a while.
A particularly common overuse injury is Shin Splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome or MTSS).
What is MTSS?
- Common in long distance running and running sports (AFL, soccer, running)
- Pain is usually isolated to the front and inside of the shins
- The pain often gets progressively worse with time
- A variety of tibial stress injuries can be involved including inflammation of the periosteum, dysfunction of the tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior and soleus muscles
What causes MTSS?
- It is an overuse injury, meaning that we are asking the tissues to work harder than they are able to, resulting in injury
- Often this occurs when we have a rapid increase in training frequency or intensity (e.g. preseason)
- Other contributing factors include:
- Poor foot mechanics
- Muscle imbalances ie. weak or tight muscles
- Range of motion restrictions (e.g. poor ankle range of motion, tight calves, stiff midfoot)
- Poor footwear
- Training errors (doing too much too soon)
Treatment for MTSS
- Early treatment is crucial in management and in avoiding potential stress fracture responses
- Shockwave therapy
- Shockwave can be used to stimulate a healing response and reduce pain
- Flexible orthotic device
- To assist in shock absorption and reducing the end range of motion contributing to the condition
- Dry needling
- To reduce muscle tension and tightness and trigger points around the lower leg. Relaxing the muscle ultimately allows flexibility and reduces shin splint pain
- Manual therapy/foot mobilisation therapy
- To increase joint range of motion
- Footwear update
- Both running shoes, sport specific shoes e.g. football boots, and every day/work shoes are important in the overall treatment of MTSS
- Return to running programs
- In conjunction to strengthening programs but importantly align with the idea of balancing load and frequency of exercise
- Strengthening programs
- Overuse injuries occur when the capacity of tissue load is less than the load applied, i.e. your body isn’t able to cope with what we’re asking it to do, resulting in injury. To increase the tissues capacity i.e. how much it can do, strengthening is really important
Make a time to have your shin pain assessed today by booking online here.
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