Sacral stress fractures in athletes

Edward G. McFarland, Charles Giangarra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Low back and buttock pain in runners can be a source of frustration for the athlete and a diagnostic dilemma for the physician. The authors reported on 3 cases of sacral stress fractures in women athletes, all of which initially presented as low back and/or buttock pain. Sacral stress fractures have been increasingly recognized as a potential cause of these symptoms, especially in young athletes. Because plain radiograph findings are typically normal, the diagnosis is best made with bone scintigraphy. Computed tomography is indicated if there is concern about neoplasm and to evaluate healing of the fracture. If treated with rest, most of these fractures heal and the athlete can return to previous sports activity. The treating physician should be suspicious of this injury among running athletes reporting sacral and buttock pain that does not respond to treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-243
Number of pages4
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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