Femoral Neck Stress Fractures in Sport: A Current Concepts Review

Sports Med Int Open. 2017 Mar 15;1(2):E58-E68. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-103946. eCollection 2017 Feb.


Femoral neck stress fractures (FNSFs) account for 3% of all sport-related stress fractures. The commonest causative sports are marathon and long-distance running. The main types of FNSF are compression-sided, tension-sided and displaced. The most common reported symptom is exercise-related groin pain. Radiographs form the first line of investigation, with MRI the second-line investigation. The management of FNSFs is guided by the location and displacement of the fracture. Delay in diagnosis is common and increases the likelihood of fracture displacement. Sporting outcomes are considerably worse for displaced fractures. Education programmes and treatment protocols can reduce the rates of displaced FNSFs. This article aims to provide a current concepts review on the topic of FNSFs in sport, assess the current evidence on the epidemiology and pathophysiology of these injuries, detail the current recommendations for their imaging and management, and review the recorded sporting outcomes for FNSFs in the existing literature. From this study, we conclude that although FNSFs are a rare injury, they should be considered in all athletes presenting with exercise-related hip pain, because delay in diagnosis and subsequent fracture displacement can significantly impair future return to sport. However, when detected early, FNSFs show promising results in terms of return-to-sport rates and times.

Keywords: athlete; exercise; fracture; hip; pain; stress.

Publication types

  • Review