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Sports Health. 2016 Jul;8(4):324-30. doi: 10.1177/1941738115601425. Epub 2015 Aug 18.

Return to Sport After Tibial Shaft Fractures: A Systematic Review.

Author information

1
Edinburgh Orthopaedic Trauma Unit, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK greg_robertson@live.co.uk.
2
Edinburgh Orthopaedic Trauma Unit, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Acute tibial shaft fractures represent one of the most severe injuries in sports. Return rates and return-to-sport times after these injuries are limited, particularly with regard to the outcomes of different treatment methods.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the current evidence for the treatment of and return to sport after tibial shaft fractures.

DATA SOURCES:

OVID/MEDLINE (PubMed), EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Collaboration Database, Web of Science, PEDro, SPORTDiscus, Scopus, and Google Scholar were all searched for articles published from 1988 to 2014.

STUDY SELECTION:

Inclusion criteria comprised studies of level 1 to 4 evidence, written in the English language, that reported on the management and outcome of tibial shaft fractures and included data on either return-to-sport rate or time. Studies that failed to report on sporting outcomes, those of level 5 evidence, and those in non-English language were excluded.

STUDY DESIGN:

Systematic review.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Level 4.

DATA EXTRACTION:

The search used combinations of the terms tibial, tibia, acute, fracture, athletes, sports, nonoperative, conservative, operative, and return to sport. Two authors independently reviewed the selected articles and created separate data sets, which were subsequently combined for final analysis.

RESULTS:

A total of 16 studies (10 retrospective, 3 prospective, 3 randomized controlled trials) were included (n = 889 patients). Seventy-six percent (672/889) of the patients were men, with a mean age of 27.7 years. Surgical management was assessed in 14 studies, and nonsurgical management was assessed in 8 studies. Return to sport ranged from 12 to 54 weeks after surgical intervention and from 28 to 182 weeks after nonsurgical management (mean difference, 69.5 weeks; 95% CI, -83.36 to -55.64; P < 0.01). Fractures treated surgically had a return-to-sport rate of 92%, whereas those treated nonsurgically had a return rate of 67% (risk ratio, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.20 to 1.57; P < 0.01).

CONCLUSION:

The general principles are to undertake surgical management for displaced fractures and to attempt nonsurgical management for undisplaced fractures. Primary surgical intervention of undisplaced fractures, however, may result in higher return rates and shorter return times, though this exposes the patient to the risk of surgical complications, which include surgical site infection and compartment syndrome.

KEYWORDS:

fractures; outcome; shaft; sport; tibial; treatment

PMID:
27340245
PMCID:
PMC4922516
DOI:
10.1177/1941738115601425
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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