Clin Sports Med. 2012 Apr;31(2):273-90.
Medial tibial stress syndrome.
Reshef N1, Guelich DR.
MTSS is a benign, though painful, condition, and a common problem in the running athlete. It is prevalent among military personnel, runners, and dancers, showing an incidence of 4% to 35%. Common names for this problem include shin splints, soleus syndrome, tibialstress syndrome, and periostitis. The exact cause of this condition is unknown. Previous theories included an inflammatory response of the periosteum or periosteal traction reaction. More recent evidence suggests a painful stress reaction of bone. The most proven risk factors are hyperpronation of the foot, female sex, and history of previous MTSS. Patient evaluation is based on meticulous history taking and physical examination. Even though the diagnosis remains clinical, imaging studies, such as plain radiographs and bone scans are usually sufficient, although MRI is useful in borderline cases to rule out more significant pathology. Conservative treatment is almost always successful and includes several options; though none has proven more superior to rest. Prevention programs do not seem to influence the rate of MTSS, though shock-absorbing insoles have reduced MTSS rates in military personnel, and ESWT has shortened the duration of symptoms. Surgery is rarely indicated but has shown some promising results in patients who have not responded to all conservative options.