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Ulnar shaft stress fractures in fast-pitch softball pitchers: a case series and proposed mechanism of injury

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Stress fractures of the upper extremities in athletes are important injuries for radiologists to appreciate despite being far less common than stress fractures of the lower extremities. Among upper extremity stress fractures, those involving the olecranon have been well described in overhead pitching athletes. Isolated stress fractures of the ulnar shaft however are less commonly reported in the literature and considered to be rare. We have observed a correlation between young patients with ulnar shaft stress fractures and the activity of fast-pitch softball pitching.

Case Reports

In this series, we present the imaging findings in four cases of ulnar shaft stress fractures in softball pitchers who presented with insidious onset forearm pain. Furthermore, a review of the literature focusing on softball pitching mechanics is provided to offer a potential underlying mechanism for the occurrence and location of these injuries.


An awareness of the imaging appearance of ulnar shaft stress fractures along with an understanding of its proposed mechanism will facilitate accurate and timely imaging diagnosis of this injury by the radiologist.

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Correspondence to Jens T. Verhey.

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Verhey, J.T., Verhey, E., Holland, D. et al. Ulnar shaft stress fractures in fast-pitch softball pitchers: a case series and proposed mechanism of injury. Skeletal Radiol 50, 835–840 (2021).

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