Inspired by all the marathons? Do you want to start running?

7th January 2020

Do you want to get fit for summer? Is your resolution to take up running, learn about the possible effects of ‘too much too soon syndrome’!

We’ve all done it. We’ve all started running with renewed enthusiasm for losing weight and getting fitter, healthier and more active, however our good intentions are often stifled by what I like to call (Too much, too soon syndrome!).

TMTSS is highly prevalent in people who take up running in the New Year, many who have been fairly sedentary over the christmas holidays and possibly in the lead up to the festivities. It is likely that a few pounds may have also been gained and a desire to lose them quickly has set in.

TMTSS is one of the biggest risk factors to developing shin pain which has a similar acronym for its more accurate medical name of Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS).


How to recognise the signs and symptoms of MTSS?

The most obvious sign of MTSS is a diffuse, achy, sore pain that extends along the inside of the lower part of your shin bone. The pain can affect one or both legs and typically worsens when you start running and may ease off somewhat during your run and resolve with rest. In severe cases, the pain in your shins may continue after running exercise and may affect your ability to walk comfortably. Occasionally puffiness or swelling may also be present over the shin bone.


What are the risk factors to developing MTSS?

Being Female!

Lots of studies have looked at the risk factors to developing MTSS and there appears to be consensus that being female puts you at greater risk than being male which seems a little unfair. It is believed that bone density plays a role and it would seem that ladies have lower bone density than men.


Men who walk like Charlie Chaplin!

To balance this out though, the research also indicates that men who have externally rotated hips (…or walk a bit like Charlie Chaplin) are also at greater risk, an image of my rugby player partner springs to mind!


Increased Body Mass Index

Unfortunately, this is a side effect of a good Christmas! Studies show that people with higher BMI’s are more likely to develop MTSS than those with lower BMI’s which might feel like a bit of catch 22!


Pronated foot type! (AKA referred to as Rolled in feet, Flat feet!)

It certainly isn’t a dead cert that you will suffer from MTSS if you have a pronated foot type, however studies show foot posture extremes such as really flat feet or really high arched feet to place you at higher risk of developing symptoms of MTSS.


Being new to running or suddenly increasing your running activity in a short space of time!

This relates back to “too much too soon syndrome” and can be managed through gradually increasing your running activity and taking regular rest days.


Previous history of MTSS

Unfortunately, if you have suffered with shin pain in the past then you are at high risk for developing symptoms again, especially if you have any of the other concurrent risk factors. If you are keen to continue running then it may be worthwhile seeking professional advice from a lower limb specialist such as a Podiatrist or Physiotherapist on how to stay injury free while still moving towards your goals!