Imaging of upper extremity stress fractures in the athlete

Clin Sports Med. 2006 Jul;25(3):489-504, vii. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2006.02.006.


Although it is much less common than injuries in the lower extremities, an upper extremity stress injury can have a significant impact on an athlete. If an accurate and timely diagnosis is to be made, the clinician must have a high index of suspicion of a stress fracture in any athlete who is involved in a throwing, weightlifting, or upper extremity weight-bearing sport and presents with chronic pain in the upper extremity. Imaging should play an integral role in the work-up of these patients; if initial radiographs are unrevealing, further cross-sectional imaging should be strongly considered. Although a three-phase bone scan is highly sensitive in this regard, MRI has become the study of choice at most centers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arm Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology
  • Bones of Upper Extremity / injuries
  • Elbow Injuries
  • Fractures, Stress / diagnosis*
  • Fractures, Stress / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Humeral Fractures / diagnosis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Metacarpal Bones / injuries
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Radius Fractures / diagnosis
  • Rib Fractures / diagnosis
  • Shoulder Fractures / diagnosis
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ulna Fractures / diagnosis
  • Upper Extremity* / diagnostic imaging
  • Wrist Injuries / diagnosis