OBJECTIVES: To systematically review published articles investigating the association between structural foot characteristics and tibial stress injuries, and to suggest possible future avenues of research in this area.
METHODS: Literature was identified, selected and appraised in accordance with the methods of a systematic review. Articles potentially relevant to the research question were identified by searching the following electronic databases: Amed, Cinahl, Index to UK theses, Medline, PubMed, Scopus, Sports discus and Web of science. Duplicates were removed and, based on the title and abstract, the full text of relevant studies were retrieved. Two reviewers independently assessed papers; this formed the basis for the inclusion of the most appropriate trials.
RESULTS: From the 479 articles originally identified, nine were deemed appropriate for inclusion in the review. In general, specific data relating to this relationship was limited. Outcomes of the nine investigations were difficult to compare due to differing methods used across studies. Results have proved conflicting, with limited evidence found to implicate any specific foot type as a potential risk factor for tibial stress injuries.
CONCLUSIONS: No definitive conclusions can be drawn relating foot structure or function to an increased risk of tibial stress injuries. Extremes of foot types are likely to pose an increased risk of tibial stress injuries compared to normal arched feet.
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