Aims were to 1 characterize pretibial injuries and evaluate protection offered by garments/fabrics; and 2 develop a laboratory test to determine the potential protection provided by such fabrics. Most (>85%) of 75 patients treated for pretibial injury at Hutt Hospital, New Zealand sustained injury to one site and required surgery. Injuries were typically grade 3 or 4, 10-250 mm wide 30-350 mm long, and at the mid- to lower third of the tibia. The severity grade was lower when at least one fabric layer covered the site, slightly lower again with more than one layer, and when a knitted fabric/garment was worn, and a trouser type garment. Laboratory test methods and their application reflected these known variables. The force transmitted through multiple fabric layers was less then through one layer: thick pantyhouse and either denim or fabrics used in 'sweat pants' would minimize transmitted force and maximize impulse.