Stress Fractures in Young Athletes

Which sport do you think causes the highest rate of stress fractures? Do boys or girls receive more stress fractures?

These questions and more were answered recently on Orthopedics Today. Researchers pulled data from the High School Reporting Information Online system. Rates and patterns of stress fractures sustained per athlete-exposure broken down by sport and gender were among the data reviewed.

So which sport sustained the highest rate of stress fractures? Football? Boxing? Hockey? Nope. Girls’ cross country with a rate of 10.64 per 100,000 athlete-exposures. Girls’ gymnastics and boys’ cross country came in second and third with rates of 7.43 and 5.42 respectively.

Do girls or boys sustain more stress fractures? According to the report, girls do by a significant margin. Girls endured 63.3% of the stress fractures reported while boys suffered the remaining 36.7%.

Additionally, the most common areas of reported stress fractures: lower leg (40.3%), foot (34.9%) and lower back/lumbar/pelvic region (15.2%).

ASO feels that this study should not discourage participation in sports. Instead, we recommend following warm up and training regimens, especially if you or your child is a cross-country runner. Emphasize the importance of stretching and take the extra time to make sure his/her legs are ready to run. If you or your child are having continued sport-related pain, schedule an appointment to be evaluated by one of the doctors at Arkansas Specialty Orthopaedics.