Update on stress fractures in female athletes: epidemiology, treatment, and prevention
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- Chen, YT., Tenforde, A.S. & Fredericson, M. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med (2013) 6: 173. doi:10.1007/s12178-013-9167-x
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Stress fractures are a common type of overuse injury in athletes. Females have unique risk factors such as the female athlete triad that contribute to stress fracture injuries. We review the current literature on risk factors for stress fractures, including the role of sports participation and nutrition factors. Discussion of the management of stress fractures is focused on radiographic criteria and anatomic location and how these contribute to return to play guidelines. We outline the current recommendations for evaluating and treatment of female athlete triad. Technologies that may aid in recovery from a stress fracture including use of anti-gravity treadmills are discussed. Prevention strategies may include early screening of female athlete triad, promoting early participation in activities that improve bone health, nutritional strategies, gait modification, and orthotics.