Talar body fatigue stress fractures: three cases observed in elite female gymnasts

Skeletal Radiol. 2005 Jul;34(7):389-94. doi: 10.1007/s00256-005-0913-z. Epub 2005 May 12.


Objective: To introduce and emphasize the clinical and radiological findings of three talar body fatigue stress fractures in competitive athletes.

Design and patients: Clinical and radiographic skeletal records of 24,562 athletes taken between 1962 and 2002 were retrospectively reviewed. Among these, 6851 files related to acute foot and ankle injuries or chronic post-traumatic sequelae were found.

Results: There were 925 (3.76%) stress fatigue fractures selected from the whole collection. Among these there were three cases (0.32%) of talar body stress fractures diagnosed in elite female gymnasts 15-17 years old. The negative first radiograph become positive 4-6 weeks later. Scintigraphy was positive at an early stage and consistent for the diagnosis. CT and MRI gave positive results 1-2 weeks after the beginning of symptoms which were always greatly diagnostic.

Conclusions: The sports medicine literature lacks reports of talar body fatigue stress fractures. The poor initial sensitivity of radiography makes it problematic to establish an early diagnosis. A wise combination of scintigraphy, CT and MRI has therefore to be relied upon. Familiarity with this rare location for a stress fracture may prevent delayed diagnosis and long-lasting damage, both of which are important factors in competitive athletes.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Fractures, Stress / diagnosis*
  • Fractures, Stress / diagnostic imaging
  • Gymnastics / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Talus / diagnostic imaging
  • Talus / injuries*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed