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Biomechanical Risk Factors in the Development of Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome in Distance Runners

Jo L. Tweed BSc(Hons)1, Jackie A. Campbell PhD2, and Steven J. Avil BSc(Hons), PgDip3
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  • 1 Kensington and Chelsea PCT, Podiatry Department, St. Charles Hospital, London, England.
  • | 2 School of Health, The University of Northampton, Northampton, England.
  • | 3 Division of Podiatry, The University of Northampton, Northampton, England.
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Background: We investigated the relationship between functional and static foot posture and medial tibial stress syndrome in distance runners.

Methods: Twenty-eight runners with a clinical diagnosis of medial tibial stress syndrome and 12 asymptomatic runners were assessed with the Foot Posture Index to measure static overpronation. Range of motion was measured at the talocrural joint, with the knee extended and flexed as was range of motion at the first metatarsophalangeal joint and the angular difference between the neutral and relaxed calcaneal stance positions. Each participant was then videotaped while running on a treadmill shod and unshod. This videotape was analyzed using freeze frame to identify abnormal or mistimed pronation at each phase of gait. The results were analyzed using logistic regression to give the probability that a runner is likely to experience medial tibial stress syndrome, predicted from the static measurements and dynamic observations.

Results: Variables identified as being significant predictors of medial tibial stress syndrome were the difference between the neutral and relaxed calcaneal stance positions, range of motion of the talocrural joint with the knee extended, early heel lift and abductory twist during gait, and apropulsive gait.

Conclusion: Runners with suspected symptoms of medial tibial stress syndrome should be assessed dynamically and statically for abnormal or mistimed pronation. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 98(6): 436–444, 2008)

Corresponding author: Jo L. Tweed, BSc(Hons), Kensington and Chelsea PCT, Podiatry Department, St. Charles Hospital, Exmoor St, London, W10 6DZ, England. (E-mail: jo.tweed@northampton.ac.uk)