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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

The treatment of medial tibial stress syndrome in athletes; a randomized clinical trial

Maarten Hendrik Moen1*, Leonoor Holtslag2, Eric Bakker3, Carl Barten4, Adam Weir5, Johannes L Tol5 and Frank Backx1

Author affiliations

1 Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Department, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Holland

2 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Holland

3 Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Holland

4 Department of Physical Therapy, Academy of Physical Education, The Hague, Holland

5 Department of Sports Medicine, Medical Center Haaglanden, Leidschendam, Holland

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Citation and License

Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Rehabilitation, Therapy & Technology 2012, 4:12  doi:10.1186/1758-2555-4-12

Published: 30 March 2012

Abstract

Background

The only three randomized trials on the treatment of MTSS were all performed in military populations. The treatment options investigated in this study were not previously examined in athletes. This study investigated if functional outcome of three common treatment options for medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) in athletes in a non-military setting was the same.

Methods

The study design was randomized and multi-centered. Physical therapists and sports physicians referred athletes with MTSS to the hospital for inclusion. 81 athletes were assessed for eligibility of which 74 athletes were included and randomized to three treatment groups. Group one performed a graded running program, group two performed a graded running program with additional stretching and strengthening exercises for the calves, while group three performed a graded running program with an additional sports compression stocking. The primary outcome measure was: time to complete a running program (able to run 18 minutes with high intensity) and secondary outcome was: general satisfaction with treatment.

Results

74 Athletes were randomized and included of which 14 did not complete the study due a lack of progress (18.9%). The data was analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis. Time to complete a running program and general satisfaction with the treatment were not significantly different between the three treatment groups.

Conclusion

This was the first randomized trial on the treatment of MTSS in athletes in a non-military setting. No differences were found between the groups for the time to complete a running program.

Trial registration

CCMO; NL23471.098.08

Keywords:
Running program; Exercises; Compression sleeve; Shin splints