Fractures in athletes (sports fractures)

A 15-year-old female, avid soccer and volleyball player, noted progressive onset of right-sided shin pain during her athletic training over the course of several weeks.

Radiographs taken at a local hospital revealed a minimally displaced mid-shaft tibia stress fracture. She was initially treated with cast immobilization for 3 months. She was referred to us at 6 months for treatment of a malunion with bridging callus on the lateral cortex and 13° of valgus angulation.

Operative treatment was planned and performed including correction of the deformity and insertion of an intramedullary(IM) nail and locking screws.

She returned for regular follow-up visits and at 3 months following surgery she had excellent radiographic and clinical results including a healed tibia fracture, resolution of pain and full range of motion of the knee and ankle joints.

She returned to all pre-injury activities at 4 months. At 1 year following surgery, the hardware was removed.

  • Figure A

    Figure A

    (Left) Anteroposterior (AP) and lateral radiographs reveal a minimally displaced mid-shaft tibia stress fracture. (Right) AP and lateral radiographs at 6 months following the injury illustrating a malunion with 13° of valgus deformity.


  • Figure B

    Figure B

    (Left) AP and lateral radiographs 6 months following surgery illustrating a healed tibial malunion in excellent alignment. (Right) Intraoperative fluoroscopic images following removal of hardware at 12 months.



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David L. Helfet, MD 

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