Femoral neck stress fracture in a female athlete: a case report

J Chiropr Med. 2012 Dec;11(4):273-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2012.05.010.


Objective: The purpose of this case report is to describe chiropractic rehabilitation of a master's-level athlete with proximal femoral stress fracture and provide a brief discussion of stress fracture pathology.

Clinical features: A 41-year-old female master's-level endurance athlete presented with chronic groin pain later diagnosed and confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging as a stress fracture of the femoral neck. After diagnosis, the patient was referred to a doctor of chiropractic at week 1 of the non-weight-bearing physical rehabilitation process. At that time, the patient presented with sharp and constant groin pain rated 6/10 on a numeric rating scale.

Intervention and outcome: This patient avoided weight-bearing activity for 8 weeks while cross-training and was able to return to her sport after this period. The patient was progressed through a series of non-weight-bearing strengthening exercises for the lower extremity. Myofascial release therapy was performed on the gluteal, hip flexor, and groin muscle groups to improve range of motion. Motion palpation testing the lumbar and sacroiliac joints was performed during each session, and manipulative therapy was performed when necessary. The patient was seen once a week for 8 weeks. Reevaluation was performed at week 8; at that time, the patient reported no groin pain (0/10). The patient was discharged from care and referred back to the supervising physician for clearance to return to sporting activities. One month after discharge, she reported that she was pain free and had fully returned to sport activities.

Conclusion: This case report demonstrates the importance of a through clinical history, physical examination, and magnetic resonance imaging in the accurate diagnosis of a patient with chronic groin pain and that chiropractic care can contribute to rehabilitation programs for these injuries.

Keywords: Chiropractic; Femur; Magnetic resonance imaging; Stress fracture.