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Athletes' leg pains.
  1. S. Orava,
  2. J. Puranen

    Abstract

    The frequency and nature of exertion pains of the leg in athletes were studied in 2,750 cases of overuse injuries treated at the Sports Clinic of the Deaconess Institute of Oulu, Finland, during the years 1972-1977. 465 cases of exertion pain (18%) were located in the shin. The medial tibial syndrome was the most common overuse injury among these athletes, comprising 9.5% of all exertion injuries and 60% of the leg exertion pains. Together with stress fracture of the tibia, the second most common exertion pain of the leg, it accounted for 75% of the total leg pains. There are certain difficulties in differentiating between the medial tibial syndrome and stress fracture of the tibia. They both occur at the same site with similar symptoms. Radiological examination and isotope scanning are needed. The medial tibial syndrome is an overuse injury at the medial tibial border caused by running exercises. The pain is elicited by exertional ischaemia. The pathogenesis is explained by increased pressure in the fascial compartment of the deep flexor muscles due to prolonged exercise. Similar chronic ischaemic pains from exercise are also found in other fascial compartments of the leg, especially in the anterior compartment. The only treatment needed for stress fractures is rest from training. Fascial compartment pains also usually subside. If chronic fascial syndromes prevent training, fasciotomy is recommended as a reliable method to restore the athlete to normal training without pains.

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