Objective: 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.
Design: 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.
Main outcome measure: Diagnosis of MTSS, confirmed by an independent blinded health practitioner.
Results: 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.
Conclusion: 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.