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Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2011 Dec;19(12):2111-4. doi: 10.1007/s00167-011-1447-7. Epub 2011 May 4.

Conservative treatment of lumbar spondylolysis in young soccer players.

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Mutualitat Catalana de Futbolistes-Delegació Catalunya, Ronda Sant Pere 19-21, 08010, Barcelona, Spain.



The purpose of this study was to report the functional outcomes of young active soccer players with lumbar spondylolysis undergoing conservative treatment.


Between 2002 and 2004, all soccer players diagnosed with spondylolysis with a minimum 2-year follow-up were retrospectively reviewed. All patients were treated nonoperatively with cessation of sports activity and rehabilitation for 3 months. The rehabilitation protocol was identical for all patients and emphasized strengthening of abdominal muscles, stretching of the hamstrings, "core" stability exercises, and trunk rotational movements in a pain-free basis. Those patients with pain at rest and with daily life activities were also treated with a thoracolumbar orthosis. Symptomatic patients or those with positive SPECT were not allowed to return to sports and continued the rehabilitation protocol for 3 more months.


The mean time of cessation of sports activity was 3.9 months (SD 0.8) and 5.2 months (SD 2.1) for a complete return to sports. At the 2-year follow-up, 28 patients (82%) obtained excellent results, 4 (12%) good results, 1 patient (3%) a fair result, and 1 patient (3%) a poor result.


Conservative treatment of spondylolysis in young soccer players with cessation of sports and rehabilitation, with or without thoracolumbar orthosis, was associated with excellent functional results in terms of return to sports and level of achievable physical activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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