AAOS: Stress Fractures Fairly Common in Young Athletes

Significant gender differences may contribute to stress fractures in adolescents

TUESDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Significant gender differences may contribute to stress fractures among adolescent athletes, with the level of participation also playing a role in these types of fractures, according to research being presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, held from Feb. 15 to 19 in San Diego.

Andrew David Goodwillie, M.D., of the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., and colleagues prospectively evaluated data on stress fractures in adolescent athletes submitted to an online database by local high-school athletic trainers between September 2007 and December 2010.

Among 189 athletes (74 males and 115 females) from 57 high schools, there were 230 stress fractures reported, with the tibia (48 percent) the most frequently involved bone, followed by the metatarsal (19 percent), fibula (10 percent), spine (6 percent), pelvis (4 percent), hindfoot (4 percent), and femur (4 percent). The investigators also found that the most common sports causing fractures among males were track (26 percent), football (23 percent), and cross-country (19 percent). Among females, the most common sports leading to fractures were track (28 percent) and cross country (23 percent). Compared to female athletes, male athletes sustained fractures at an older age, higher grade, and higher body mass index. Varsity athletes suffered 53 percent of all stress fractures.

"Significant gender differences highlight the importance of understanding more about this injury. Furthermore, our data suggests that the intensity of training protocols and level of participation may place adolescents at a significant risk for developing a stress injury," the authors write.

Abstract No. P439
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