Sequential avulsions of the tibial tubercle in an adolescent basketball player

Ying Chieh Huang, Ying-Hao Chao, Fang-Chieh Lien
Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics. Part B 2010, 19 (3): 231-3
Tibial tubercle avulsion is an uncommon fracture in physically active adolescents. Sequential avulsion of tibial tubercles is extremely rare. We reported a healthy, active 15-year-old boy who suffered from left tibial tubercle avulsion fracture during a basketball game. He received open reduction and internal fixation with two smooth Kirschner wires and a cannulated screw, with every effort to reduce the plate injury. Long-leg splint was used for protection followed by programmed rehabilitation. He recovered uneventfully and returned to his previous level of activity soon. Another avulsion fracture happened at the right tibial tubercle 3.5 months later when he was playing the basketball. From the encouragement of previous successful treatment, we provided him open reduction and fixation with two small-caliber screws. He recovered uneventfully and returned to his previous level of activity soon. No genu recurvatum or other deformity was happening in our case at the end of 2-year follow-up. No evidence of Osgood-Schlatter disease or osteogenesis imperfecta was found. Sequential avulsion fractures of tibial tubercles are rare. Good functional recovery can often be obtained like our case if we treat it well. To a physically active adolescent, we should never overstate the risk of sequential avulsion of the other leg to postpone the return to an active, functional life.

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