Swimmers Are At Risk For Stress Fractures? A Systematic Review

Angelo V. Vasiliadis, Vasileios Lampridis, Dimitrios Georgiannos, Ilias Bisbinas


Background: Stress fractures occur most commonly in the weight-bearing bones of the lower extremities. Swimming, a non-weight-bearing activity, is a potential activity form which associated with stress fractures? Objective: This systematic review aims to provide an answer in the above question and also to identify the reported cases of stress fractures among swimmers. Method: A systematic and comprehensive search was conducted using PubMed and Research Gate databases before January 2017. The search process was completed using the keywords: “stress fracture”, “stress injury”, “fatigue fracture”, “swimming” and “swimmers”. Results: There have been only 10 studies describing stress fractures in swimmers. This rare type of injury is commonly diagnosed in the ribs of young competitive swimmers, irrespective of their preferred swimming stroke. The etiology is multifactorial and includes a combination of intrinsic and/or extrinsic factors. Conclusion: Although any sport activity can potential cause a stress fracture, competitive swimming seems to be relatively safe in this respect. Rib stress fractures appear as the most common stress fracture in competitive swimmers that clinicians should consider. A prompt diagnosis can shorten the time required for healing and decrease the risk of complication.


Stress Fracture, Swimming, Biomechanics, Diagnosis, Treatment

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijkss.v.6n.1p.25


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