The role of hip abductor and external rotator muscle strength in the development of exertional medial tibial pain

This study aimed to prospectively identify proximal risk factors contributing to the development of exertional medial tibial pain (EMTP). Data were prospectively collected on healthy female students in physical education, who were freshmen in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. 95 female students, aged 18.15±0.84, were tested at the onset of their first academic year. Testing included isokinetic hip strength measurements of the abductors, adductors, internal rotators and external rotators. The follow-up of the individulas was assessed using a weekly online questionnaire and a 3-monthly retrospective control questionnaire. EMTP was diagnosed by an experienced MD (Doctor of Medicine). Cox regression analysis was used to identify the potential risk factors for the development of EMTP. 21 individuals were diagnosed with EMTP during follow-up. The results of this study identified that reduced hip abductor concentric strength is a predictive parameter for the development of EMTP in females. More specifically, total work (p=0.010) and average power (p=0.045) for concentric abduction strength were found to be significant predictors for this lower leg overuse injury.

Hip abductor weakness is a significant predictor for EMTP in women. For this reason, preventive screening methods for EMTP should incorporate this proximal contributing factor.