Talar body fatigue stress fractures: three cases observed in elite female gymnasts
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To introduce and emphasize the clinical and radiological findings of three talar body fatigue stress fractures in competitive athletes.
Design and patients
Clinical and radiographic skeletal records of 24,562 athletes taken between 1962 and 2002 were retrospectively reviewed. Among these, 6851 files related to acute foot and ankle injuries or chronic post-traumatic sequelae were found.
There were 925 (3.76%) stress fatigue fractures selected from the whole collection. Among these there were three cases (0.32%) of talar body stress fractures diagnosed in elite female gymnasts 15―17 years old. The negative first radiograph become positive 4–6 weeks later. Scintigraphy was positive at an early stage and consistent for the diagnosis. CT and MRI gave positive results 1–2 weeks after the beginning of symptoms which were always greatly diagnostic.
The sports medicine literature lacks reports of talar body fatigue stress fractures. The poor initial sensitivity of radiography makes it problematic to establish an early diagnosis. A wise combination of scintigraphy, CT and MRI has therefore to be relied upon. Familiarity with this rare location for a stress fracture may prevent delayed diagnosis and long-lasting damage, both of which are important factors in competitive athletes.
KeywordsStress fractures in athletes Talar body fatigue stress fractures
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