Medial Tibial Stress Fracture | Studio Podiatry | Podiatrist & Orthotics | Camp Hill, Brisbane 4152

What is it?

A medial tibial stress fracture is characterised by small micro-fractures in the outer layer of the shin bone (tibia). These fractures are most commonly seen on the lower third of the medial border of the shin bone. This is due to the fact that this particular area is subjected to high repetitive stresses during activities such as running. 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of a medial tibial stress fracture can be similar to those of shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome), however subtle differences are often noted and are essential in providing a correct diagnosis. The most common symptoms that patients often present with include;

  • Shin pain that never warms up (opposite to shin splints) 
  • Night pain (not present in shin splints) 
  • Focal point of pain  

Why did I get it?

Medial tibial stress fractures almost always occur in active individuals with a heavy exercise program. The common risk factors that patients often present with are; 

  • Poor biomechanics
  • Incorrect footwear
  • Over training 
  • Sudden increase in activity
  • Training on a hard surface
  • Muscle tightness 

How is it diagnosed?

Whilst a thorough clinical examination/ history will generally be adequate in diagnosing a medial tibial stress fracture, you will most likely be referred for an x-ray and/ or bone scan to determine the severity of the fracture. 

How can I treat it?

  • Rest and ice 
  • Crutches (non-weight bearing) 
  • CAM walker 
  • Correction of biomechanics
  • Footwear advice
  • Activity/ training modification 
  • Custom orthotics 

The prognosis of a medial tibial stress fracture is largely dependent on the severity of the injury as well as the compliance of the patient. It is recommended to return to sport no sooner than after 4-6 weeks of no bony tenderness over the area of concern. It is imperative to modify activity levels to ensure a gradual return to sport and to give the soft tissues time to adapt. 

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