High resolution CT can accurately show medial tibial stress syndrome, better known as shin splints, in distance runners according, to a study conducted at the University of Messina in Messina, Italy.
According to the study, medial tibial stress syndrome is one of many overuse lower leg injuries that may be found in athletes and accounts for between 13.2% and 17.3% of all running injuries.
For the study, high-resolution CT of both tibiae (shin bones) was performed on 41 subjects: 20 distance runners with no symptoms of shin splints, 11 distance runners with pain due to shin splints and 10 volunteers not involved in a sport. A total of 82 shin bones, 14 painful and 68 painless, were evaluated. Among the distance runners, CT abnormalities were found in 14 of 14 (100%) painful tibiae in patients with shin splints.
'The study demonstrates that CT is capable of revealing cortical abnormalities in medial tibial stress syndrome, thus representing a reliable diagnostic tool in patients with leg pain,' said Fabio Minutoli, MD, lead author of the study.
The results are useful for the management of athletes, particularly long distance runners. Moreover, we think that CT can be used in research studies, to evaluate other subtle bone abnormalities; for example it can be useful in studies concerning osteoporosis,' said Dr. Minutoli.