Stress changes of the wrist in adolescent gymnasts

Br J Radiol. 1988 Feb;61(722):109-12. doi: 10.1259/0007-1285-61-722-109.


The radiographic appearances are reported of chronic stress to the wrist joints of eight adolescent males, seven gymnasts and one roller skater. These consist of bilateral, asymmetrical widening and irregularity of the distal radial growth plates with an ill-defined cystic appearance, sclerosis and flaring of the metaphyses in all eight cases. Similar but less marked changes were present in the distal ulnar growth plates in five cases. The aetiology is thought to be that of a Salter Type I stress fracture of the growth plate due to chronic repetitive shear forces applied to the hyperextended wrist joint. Rapid healing of the stress fracture will occur with cessation of the sporting activity but continued strenuous use of the wrists will result in further widening and irregularity of the growth plate. The differential diagnosis of the radiographic appearances and previous literature are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fractures, Bone / diagnostic imaging*
  • Gymnastics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Radiography
  • Skating
  • Wrist Injuries / diagnostic imaging*