Patricia Griffin Kellicker, BSN
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.
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:
Factors that may increase your chance of MTSS include:
MTSS may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Diagnosis can be made on this information.
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 MTSS:
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Sports Med—The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Conquering medial tibial stress syndrome. Podiatry Today website. Available at:
http://www.podiatrytoday.com/article/5031. Accessed December 12, 2014.
Cosca DD, Navazio F. Common problems in endurance athletes.
Am Fam Physician. 2007;76(2):237-244.
Craig DI. Medial tibial stress syndrome: evidence based- prevention.
J Athl Train. 2008;43(3):316–318.
Running and jogging injuries. American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine website. Available at:
http://www.sportsmed.org/downloads/tips/AOSSM_Running%20and%20Jogging%20Injuries.pdf. Updated December 12, 2014.
Shin pain. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115559/Shin-pain#sec-Medial-Tibial-Stress-Syndrome-Shin-Splints. Updated March 23, 2015. Accessed December 12, 2015.
Shin splints. The Merck Manual Professional Edition website. Available at:
http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/sports_injury/shin_splints.html. Updated October 2014. Accessed December 12, 2014.
Last reviewed December 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
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