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Stress Fractures Hitting High School Athletes
Date:2/15/2011

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Stress fractures linked to overuse may be more common than thought among high school athletes, especially among those who participate in running-related sports, a new study finds.

"The risk is that we're often dealing with very dedicated athletes who are constantly trying to perfect their performance, and sometimes they overdo it," said Dr. Letha Y. Griffin, an Atlanta-based team orthopedist at Georgia State University and a staff physician with Peachtree Orthopeadic Clinic. Griffin was not involved with the study.

Stress fractures occur when bones face repetitive strain over a long period of time, especially when bones are not given time to heal.

The new study found that risk factors for stress fractures injuries vary by gender, with young female athletes having a heightened risk for fracture at a younger age and lower body mass than male students.

Still, "our study is suggestive that this is a big problem for all student athletes," said study author Dr. Andrew D. Goodwillie, chief orthopedic resident with the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in New Brunswick, N.J.

"The fact that we picked up so many stress fractures in such a short amount of time, and that we're finding that there are clear risk associations to the type of training regimens and dietary habits of the student athletes who are experiencing them, indicates that we're really just hitting the tip of the iceberg in terms of this issue," he said.

Goodwillie is slated to present the findings on Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in San Diego.

Between 2007 and 2010, Goodwillie and his team tracked the frequency and nature of stress fractures among student athletes enrolled at 57 participating high schools.

At each school, athletic trainers were asked t
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