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I coach a high school cross-country team. Is there any way to predict which of my runners will wind up with shin splints and other injuries from overuse?

A recent study looked at 125 high school distance runners. Fifteen of them (12 percent) developed medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), which is often lumped with shin splints.

Runners with MTSS were overwhelmingly girls (13 of 15 injured runners). They also showed a more pronated foot posture than noninjured runners.

The researchers concluded that sex and foot posture predict which runners get MTSS 76 percent of the time. This model is still under investigation. Still, it wouldn't hurt to look out for girls and pronators, who seem to be at higher risk for these kinds of injuries. Orthotics may provide a means of early prevention for these runners.


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