Medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), commonly known as shin splints, is an inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and tissue around the tibia. Pain is most often felt along the inner edge of the tibia, where the muscles attach. MTSS is usually caused by vigorous exercise, particularly if the patient is new to the activity or if they’ve changed their training routine. Up to 35 per cent of runners experience MTSS.

In addition to the nature of the activity, other factors contributing to MTSS can include flat feet, abnormally rigid arches, atypical running styles, or improper footwear. Patients may have an undiagnosed stress fracture in the tibia, tendinitis, or chronic exertional compartment syndrome.

MTSS Treatment

Pain can either be sharp or dull and throbbing, occurring during and after exercise. Mild swelling can also be present, and it may be painful to touch the area. Typical treatment options include rest, switching to lower-impact activities, anti-inflammatories, ice, compression, conditioning exercises, and better footwear.

Surgery for MTSS is very rare and its effectiveness is questionable.

For many athletes, extended rest or switching activities can be frustrating. Soldiers, for example, must often march or run long distances, so debilitating MTSS is particularly concerning. Fortunately, shockwave therapy, which uses acoustic pressure waves to boost metabolism and circulation, can treat MTSS within a short period of time.

A study published in the International Journal of Surgery assessed whether one session of shockwave therapy could help military cadets with MTSS. Researchers divided forty-two cadets with unilateral chronic MTSS into two groups. One group received one session of shockwave in addition to an exercise program while the other group performed just the exercise program. Researchers measured asymptomatic running time four weeks from baseline along with a visual analogue scale (VAS) after running and a modified Roles and Maudsley (RM) score.

After four weeks, researchers found that patients who’d received shockwave therapy were able to run more than seventeen minutes on average without shin pain while the exercise-only group could only run less than five minutes without pain. The average VAS for the shockwave group was more than two points lower than the exercise-only group, and nearly 83 per cent of the shockwave group had excellent or good RM results compared to less than 37 per cent for the exercise-only group.

Researchers concluded that just one shockwave treatment in conjunction with an exercise program can rapidly accelerate recovery for MTSS.

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For more than thirty years, Storz has been leading the industry for shockwave therapy. And we are Canada’s exclusive distributor of Storz shockwave therapy machines. Shockwave therapy is drug-free, non-invasive, and can be used by all healthcare professionals.

To learn more call 1 (888) 741-SHOC(7462) or visit our website.