With winter sports winding up and pre-season training for summer sports commencing, it is not surprising that today I saw my first case of shin splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome), for this year.
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) is the medical name for lower leg pain that occurs below the knee on either the front outside part of the leg (anterior shin splints) or the inside of the leg (medial shin splints). MTTS is a common injury seen in many running or jumping based sports for example, basketball, netball, football or hockey.
Shin splints most commonly occur when repetitive or prolonged activities place strain on where the muscles attach to the outside lining of the bone (tenoperiosteum).
Put simply, the cause of MTTS can be summed up in four words: too much too soon. Athletes often first experience shin pain early in the season due to deconditioning and when training surfaces are generally harder. Later in the season it can be caused by increased load or fatigue from over training and not allowing enough time for recovery between activities.
If you have shin splints stretch your calf muscles regularly through the day. Another good stretch is to kneel on a carpeted floor with your legs and feet together and toes pointed directly back then slowly sit back onto your heels, pushing your ankles onto the floor until you feel tension in the muscles in your shin. Hold for 15 seconds then relax and repeat. When you return to sport, increase your load slowly and avoid running on hills and hard surfaces until your pain goes completely.
“For the fitness of you”