Anterior tension band plating for anterior tibial stress fractures in high-performance female athletes: a report of 4 cases

J Orthop Trauma. 2006 Jul;20(6):425-30. doi: 10.1097/00005131-200607000-00011.


Stress fracture of the anterior tibial cortex is an extremely challenging fracture to treat, especially in the high-performance female athlete who requires rapid return to competition. Previous reports have not addressed treating these fractures in the world-class athlete with anterior plating. We hypothesize that anterior plating is a biomechanically sound approach to treatment of these fractures, and will lead to an earlier return to full activity than either nonoperative treatment or intramedullary nailing. We present a retrospective series of 4 case reports of 4 world-class female athletes with stress fractures of the anterior tibial cortex treated by anterior plating between 2001 and 2004. Average follow-up was 15 months (range 12 to 48 mo). Anterior tension band plating resulted in fracture healing in all 4 cases and return to full activity at a mean of 10 weeks. All patients returned to preinjury competitive levels. There were no complications of infection, nonunion, or malunion. Anterior tension-band plating of an anterior tibial stress fracture leads to rapid fracture healing and return to competition for high-performance female athletes. This approach should be considered in those athletes who wish to avoid the more prolonged convalescence associated with nonoperative treatment, or the problems, especially of the knee, associated with intramedullary nailing.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery*
  • Bone Plates*
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / instrumentation*
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods*
  • Fractures, Stress / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Tibial Fractures / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome