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Am J Sports Med. 2001 Jul-Aug;29(4):498-508.

Stress fractures of the sacrum. An atypical cause of low back pain in the female athlete.

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Lafayette College, Bailey Health Center, Easton, Pennsylvania 18042-1768, USA.


Low back pain is a common finding in an athletically active premenopausal female population. We describe an unusual cause of persistent low back/sacroiliac pain: a fatigue-type sacral stress fracture. Plain radiographs, bone scans, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging studies were obtained in the female athletes to determine the nature of the pathologic abnormality. The most significant risk factor for fatigue-type sacral stress fractures was an increase in impact activity due to a more vigorous exercise program. Potential risk factors such as abnormal menstrual history, dietary deficiencies, and low bone mineral density were examined. The clinical course was protracted, with an average 6.6 months of prolonged low back pain before resolution of symptoms. Sacral fatigue-type stress fractures did not preclude the athletes from returning to their previous level of participation once healing had occurred.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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