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Running retraining that can help Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (shin splints)

Updated: Oct 11

Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome causes pain along the inside of your shin bone. It was traditionally also called shin splints. I’ve written an article before about how it is caused and how to treat it, but in a nutshell: MTSS develops when you overstrain the inside (medial part) of your shinbone and the muscles that attach to it. There are certain elements in your running style that may contribute to this.



Adjusting your running style is only part of the treatment process. You may also benefit from working on strength and control for the muscles around your hips, changing trainers and possibly orthotics (depending on your specific case).


Elements in your running style that you may want to change


I also demonstrate all of this in this video:



Over-striding


This causes large impact force through the leg and is useful to change as part of general injury prevention as well.


Solution: Try to land with your foot closer to your body, more underneath you. Aim for a mid-foot strike rather than a forefoot strike as you don’t want to increase the workload on the calves too much. Increasing your step rate slightly can also help to reduce over-striding and reduce impact forces.


Need more help with your injury? You're welcome to consult me online via video call. Follow the link to learn more.

Narrow gait


When you run with a very narrow gait, it brings your legs in towards the midline which can cause a greater torsion force on the shinbone.


Solution: Widen your gait slightly by trying to place your feet a bit further apart when you run.


Knee turning in


If your knee turns in when you run, it means that your whole leg is likely turning in and this can also cause an increase in the torsion forces through the shinbone.


Solution: Think about pointing your kneecaps forward as you run and not allowing your legs to turn in as much. Increasing your step rate slightly can also help with this.


Exciting update! I've teamed up with Exakt Health to create an injury treatment app that guides you through the rehab process and adapts the exercises and treatment suggestions according to your progress. You can download the Exakt Health App from the App Store.

Start your recovery with a tailored treatment plan from the Exakt Health App. Click on the link to download the app.

Need more help with your injury? You’re welcome to consult one of our team online via video call for an assessment of your injury and a tailored treatment plan.

Best wishes

Maryke


About the Author

Maryke Louw is a chartered physiotherapist with more than 15 years' experience and a Masters Degree in Sports Injury Management. Follow her on LinkedIn, ResearchGate, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.



References:

  1. Barton, C. J., et al. (2016). "Running retraining to treat lower limb injuries: a mixed-methods study of current evidence synthesised with expert opinion." British Journal of Sports Medicine 50(9): 513-526.