“Shin splints” is a general term used to describe a painful condition affecting the shins. It is caused by a number of conditions, the commonest of these being medial tibial stress syndrome. Other causes are stress fractures of the tibia or chronic compartment syndrome.
Medial tibial stress syndrome is commonly seen in athletes especially those who over train or who suffer from overpronation.
How is medial medial stress syndrome diagnosed?
The diagnosis of medial tibial stress syndrome is usually made after excluding a stress fracture and chronic compartment syndrome. X-rays can sometimes spot a stress fracture but a bone scan or MRI scan is also commonly ordered to exclude a stress fracture and to look for typical findings seen in medial tibial stress syndrome.
How is medial tibial stress syndrome treated?
Over pronation should be corrected with appropriate footwear. Rest, icing, anti-inflammatory tablets and painkillers can help deal with the pain.
Correct training practices are important, with avoidance of over training. Sometimes only complete rest from certain loading exercises allow the pain to be controlled, but this is often frustrating for active people who enjoy their training or sport.
What if these do not work?
There has been an interest in the use of shock wave therapy to heel this condition following some positive reports of its use. We have been using shock-wave therapy for this condition for some time and have had excellent results. It is really the only alternative treatment to the above and our patients are pleased to be able to resume their activities much earlier than with conventional treatments.
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