Posts Tagged ‘stress fractures’

London Marathon Injury Advice from Birmingham Sports Injury Clinic

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

As the spring marathon and road running season approaches, here at the Atlas Sports Injury Clinic we are again treating an increasing number of lower limb injuries.  Our website www.runninginjuryclinic.co.uk is packed with injury information and advice and well worth a visit.

Many runners, either new to the sport or stepping up to longer distances will experience aches and pains in their legs.

Pain is the body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong. Listen to your body and if needs be, act on it!

Any type of training can cause aches and pains in the muscles. The term Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a normal response as damaged muscle fibres repair themselves after training. Typically this can leave muscles feeling tender one or two days following a training session. Depending on how tough the training session was, the pain generally eases within a few days.

An injury is typically an ache or pain that does not go away and causes you to either reduce your training or stop altogether. One of the most common injuries we address in the clinic is Medial Tibial Stress syndrome (MTSS).

Below is a general overview of the injury:

Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome

What is it?   

Shin splints is the term used to describe a group of lower leg injuries.  One specific type of shin pain is medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) and is one of the most common causes of exercise related lower leg pain. 

The pain of MTSS commonly occurs along the inside of the lower half of the shin bone (the tibia). Long term repetitive sports activities cause excessive stress and strain around the location where the sheath covering the posterior tibialis muscle attaches to the shin bone.

Who does it affect?

As well as athletes, the injury can occur in any physically active persons. On the whole it is usually seen in runners. The injury rate tends to be higher in females. 

Other sports in which athletes are most commonly affected usually involve running and jumping i.e. gymnastics, long jumping, basketball and volleyball.   

What are the common symptoms?

The most common symptom is pain and tenderness along the inside of the lower half of the shin. 

Pain occurs at the beginning of a run but may ease off after a while only to recur at the end of the run.

The pain is made worse by repetitive weight bearing activities. 

Some swelling may be felt along the shin.

What should I do if I have medial tibial stress syndrome? 

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above:

See a Sports Podiatrist as soon as possible. They will be able to assess and diagnose the problem and advise on the best course of treatment. 

If treated early, you can avoid any long term problems and damage and return to training sooner. 

An accurate diagnosis from a health professional is essential as this is also a common location of stress fractures of the tibia.

Alter your training to active rest as much as possible, avoiding high impact activities. You can maintain a level of fitness with low impact activities such as cycling and swimming. 

Treat the area with ice on a regular basis.

How can it be prevented?

Make sure you are wearing the right footwear for you feet and your sport, a Sports Podiatrist can help with advice.

Regular, correct calf stretching can help. Tight calf muscles may contribute to the development of MTSS. Tightness or shortness in these muscles can reduce ankle joint movement, affect foot function and can reduce shock absorption when the foot strikes the ground.

Mix up the surfaces you train on, softer, off road surfaces will reduce some of the repetitive impact of running.

Make sure any increase in mileage or intensity is gradual – allow your body to adapt to what you are asking it to do.

 

What can a Sports Podiatrist do?

A common factor found in MTSS is flat or low arched feet. A Sports Podiatrist can assess the alignment of your foot and leg when standing, walking and running, and determine whether the injury is due to faulty foot and/or lower limb biomechanics: In which case you may be advised on the benefits of wearing foot orthotics in your shoes. 

Orthotics can improve the position, function and efficiency of the foot, which may help to reduce the stress and pain along the shin caused by MTSS. 

A Sports Podiatrist can also advise on an appropriate sports shoe and a muscle stretching programme to address any muscle imbalances or tightness you may have.

Contact our running injury clinic for an appointment by telephoning 01827 59943