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Incidence of anterior tibial spine fracture among skiers does not differ with age

Abstract

Purpose

Injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is common in alpine skiing in the form of either an intra-substance ACL tear or anterior tibial spine fracture (ATSF). Anterior tibial spine fractures are typically reported in children. However, several case reports describe these injuries in adults while skiing. The purpose of this study is to describe the sport specific incidence of ATSF in alpine skiing.

Methods

The study was conducted over a 22-year period. Skiers who suffered an ATSF were identified and radiographs were reviewed to confirm the diagnosis. Additionally, control data from intra-substance ACL injury groups were collected. The incidence of these injuries in children, adolescents, and adults (grouped as ages 0–10, 11–16, and 17 + years old, respectively) was evaluated and the risk factors for ATSF versus ACL tear were determined.

Results

There were 1688 intra-substance ACL and 51 ATSF injuries. The incidence of intra-substance ACL injury was greater in adults (40.0 per 100,000 skier days) compared to the adolescent (15.4 per 100,000) and child (1.1 per 100,000) age groups. In contrast, the incidence of ATSF was similar in the adult (0.9 per 100,000), adolescent (1.9 per 100,000), and child (1.9 per 100,000) age groups. Loose ski boot fit was identified as a risk factor for ATSF.

Conclusion

The incidence of ATSF in alpine skiers is similar among all age groups. However, the incidence of intra-substance ACL injuries is far greater in adult skiers compared to adolescents and children. Risk factors for ATSF relate to compliance between the foot/ankle and the ski boot.

Level of evidence

III.

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All authors participated in data collection, data analysis, and manuscript preparation.

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Correspondence to Benjamin Albertson.

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The study was approved by (the University of Vermont) Institutional Review Board.

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Albertson, B., Beynnon, B., Endres, N. et al. Incidence of anterior tibial spine fracture among skiers does not differ with age. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 30, 2291–2297 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-021-06782-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-021-06782-7

Keywords

  • Knee
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • Anterior tibial spine fracture
  • ACL
  • Skiing
  • Injury
  • Epidemiology
  • Tibial eminence fracture