Pronounced: me-d-ul tib-e-ul stress sin-drom
Medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) is exercise-related pain in the shins. It may be caused by an irritation of the tendons and muscles near the shin bones. MTSS is commonly known as shin splints. This injury is most often seen among runners.
Muscle and Bones of Lower Leg
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MTSS is a treatable condition. Contact your doctor if you think you may have MTSS.
The exact cause is unknown. MTSS is called an overuse injury. It most commonly occurs from repetitive motion or stress at the shins. Causes may include:
These factors increase your chance of MTSS. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
If you have any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to MTSS. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis can be made by the classic history and physical exam.
You may be referred to a specialist. For example, a sports medicine physician focuses on sport injuries.
MTSS is treated with:
Your doctor may suggest a different pair of shoes. A brace or walking boot may also be needed.
To help reduce your chance of getting MTSS, you may try the following steps:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
American Physical Therapists Association
Canadian Medical Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
AOSSM sports tips. AOSSM website. Available at: http://www.sportsmed.org/secure/reveal/admin/uploads/documents/ . Accessed November 13, 2008.
Conquering medial tibial stress syndrome. Podiatry Today website. Available at: http://www.podiatrytoday.com/article/5031 . Accessed November 13, 2008.
Cosca DD, Navazio F. Common Problems in Endurance Athletes. American Family Physician —Volume 76, Issue 2 (July 2007).
Craig DI. Medial tibial stress syndrome: evidence based- prevention. Journal of Athletic Training . 2008;43(3):316–318.
Shin splints. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated April 27, 2009. Accessed June 11, 2009.
Shin splints. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/shin-splints/DS00271 . Accessed November 13, 2008.
Last reviewed December 2012 by John C. Keel, MD
Last Updated: 12/3/2012