Two simple clinical tests for predicting onset of Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome: Shin palpation test and Shin oedema test

University of Canberra, Department of Physiotherapy, 12D52, Monana Street, Bruce, Australian Capital Territory 2601, Australia. .
British Journal of Sports Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.03). 09/2012; 46(12):861-4. DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2011-090409
Source: PubMed


To examine the relationship between two clinical test results and future diagnosis of (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome) MTSS in personnel at a military trainee establishment.
Data from a preparticipation musculoskeletal screening test performed on 384 Australian Defence Force Academy Officer Cadets were compared against 693 injuries reported by 326 of the Officer Cadets in the following 16 months. Data were held in an Injury Surveillance database and analysed using χ2 and Fisher's Exact tests, and Receiver Operating Characteristic Curve analysis.
Diagnosis of MTSS, confirmed by an independent blinded health practitioner.
Both the palpation and oedema clinical tests were each found to be significant predictors for later onset of MTSS. Specifically: Shin palpation test OR 4.63, 95% CI 2.5 to 8.5, Positive Likelihood Ratio 3.38, Negative Likelihood Ratio 0.732, Pearson χ2 p<0.001; Shin oedema test OR 76.1 95% CI 9.6 to 602.7, Positive Likelihood Ratio 7.26, Negative Likelihood Ratio 0.095, Fisher's Exact p<0.001; Combined Shin Palpation Test and Shin Oedema Test Positive Likelihood Ratio 7.94, Negative Likelihood Ratio <0.001, Fisher's Exact p<0.001. Female gender was found to be an independent risk factor (OR 2.97, 95% CI 1.66 to 5.31, Positive Likelihood Ratio 2.09, Negative Likelihood Ratio 0.703, Pearson χ2 p<0.001) for developing MTSS.
The tests for MTSS employed here are components of a normal clinical examination used to diagnose MTSS. This paper confirms that these tests and female gender can also be confidently applied in predicting those in an asymptomatic population who are at greater risk of developing MTSS symptoms with activity at some point in the future.

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: Pressure algometry (PA) may provide an objective and standardised tool in assessing palpation pain over the tibia. The purpose of this study was to analyse the intra-rater repeatability of PA and to determine whether tibial tenderness in healthy runners differ from runners with medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). Methods: Pressure algometry was performed on 20 asymptomatic runners (40 legs) and 9 MTSS patients (14 symptomatic legs) at standardised locations along the medial border of the tibia. Intra-rater reliability was assessed in 10 randomly selected asymptomatic runners through repeated measurements 2 weeks later. Results: Intra-rater reliability was moderate to excellent (ICC 0.53-0.90) in asymptomatic runners. Pain pressure threshold (PPT) was significantly reduced at 2/9-5/9 of the distance from the medial malleolus to the medial tibial condyle (p = 0.002-0.022). There was evidence of a statistically significant association between both height and weight, and PPT from the 3/9 (r = 0.416, p = 0.008) to 7/9 (r = 0.334, p = 0.035) and 3/9 (r = 0.448, p = 0.004) to 6/9 (r = 0.337, p = 0.034) area, respectively. In both MTSS patients and healthy runners, there was evidence of lower PPT in females compared to males (p = 0.0001-0.049) and a negative association between age and PPT (p = 0.001-0.033). MTSS patients had significantly lower PPT at the 3/9 site (p = 0.048) compared to asymptomatic runners. Conclusion: Pain pressure threshold algometry can be incorporated into MTSS clinical assessment to objectively assess pain and monitor progress. The presence of reduced medial tibial PPT in asymptomatic runners suggests that clinicians may not need to await resolution of medial tibia tenderness before allowing return to sport in MTSS patients.
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