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Am J Sports Med. 2012 Aug;40(8):1851-7. doi: 10.1177/0363546512448318. Epub 2012 May 18.

The epidemiology, morbidity, and outcome of soccer-related fractures in a standard population.

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  • 1Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Department of Orthopaedic Trauma, 31/2 Sciennes Road, Edinburgh, Scotland EH9 1NT, United Kingdom.



Soccer is the most common cause of sporting fracture, but little is known about patient outcome after such fractures.


To describe the epidemiological characteristics of soccer-related fractures, their outcomes, and the likelihood of return to soccer after injury in a known United Kingdom population at all skill levels.


Descriptive epidemiology study.


All soccer fractures during 2007-2008 in the Lothian population were prospectively collected, with the diagnosis confirmed by an orthopaedic surgeon when patients attended the only adult orthopaedic service in Lothian. Patients living outside the region were excluded from the study. Patients were contacted in August 2010 to ascertain their progress in returning to soccer.


A total of 367 fractures were recorded over the study period in 357 patients; 312 fractures (85%) in 303 patients (85%) were followed up, with a mean interval of 30 months (range, 24-36 months). The mean time for return to soccer from injury was 15 ± 17 weeks (range, 0-104 weeks). For patients with lower limb injuries, the mean time was 26 ± 22 weeks (range, 4-104 weeks) compared with 9 ± 8 weeks for patients with upper limb injuries (range, 0-64 weeks). Fourteen percent of the whole cohort did not return to soccer; 83% returned to soccer at the same level or higher. Thirty-nine percent had ongoing related problems; however, only 8% had impaired soccer ability because of these problems. Fractures with the highest morbidity in not returning to soccer were to the clavicle (24%), distal radius (21%), and tibial diaphysis (20%).


Most patients sustaining a fracture while playing soccer will return to soccer at a similar level. While over one third of them will have persisting symptoms 2 years after injury, for the majority, this will not impair their soccer ability.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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