External Frontal Plane Loads May Be Associated with Tibial Stress Fracture

CREABY, MARK W.1,2; DIXON, SHARON J.2

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: September 2008 - Volume 40 - Issue 9 - pp 1669-1674
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31817571ae
APPLIED SCIENCES: Biodynamics

Purpose: The role of applied external loads in tibial stress fracture is poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the magnitude and angle of frontal and sagittal force vectors and the magnitude of the free moment of ground reaction force (the torsional moment between the foot and the ground) during running gait differ between military recruits with and without a history of tibial stress fracture.

Methods: Ten male military recruits with tibial stress fracture history and 20 matched controls performed shod running trials over a force plate. The magnitude and the direction of the frontal and sagittal plane ground reaction force, in addition to the free moment, were compared between the groups.

Results: The frontal plane force vector was directed significantly more medially in the stress fracture group during midstance and late stance (P < 0.05). The magnitude of frontal and sagittal plane ground reaction forces and the free moment were not higher in the stress fracture group compared with controls.

Conclusion: These data highlight differences in the direction with which external forces in the frontal plane are applied in military recruits with a history of tibial stress fracture. These differences may be important in the development of the injury.

1Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, School of Physiotherapy, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA; and 2School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Devon, UNITED KINGDOM

Address for correspondence: Mark W. Creaby, Ph.D., B.Sc. (Hons), Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, School of Physiotherapy, University of Melbourne, 200 Berkeley Street, Parkville, 3010, Australia; E-mail: mcreaby@unimelb.edu.au.

Submitted for publication January 2008.

Accepted for publication March 2008.

©2008The American College of Sports Medicine