Tibial tubercle fractures in children and adolescents: a large retrospective case series

Daniel B Haber, Frances A Tepolt, Michael P McClincy, Zaamin B Hussain, Leslie A Kalish, Mininder S Kocher
Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics. Part B 2021, 30 (1): 13-18
To report patient characteristics, fracture types, treatment methods, early clinical outcomes and complications of children and adolescents treated for tibial tubercle fractures. Retrospective case series of patients 18 years old and younger treated for tibial tubercle fractures at a single institution from 1995 to 2015. Clinical and radiographic outcomes were reported at minimum six-month follow-up. In 228 patients, 236 tibial tubercle fractures were identified, of whom, 198 (87%) were males. Mean age and BMI was 14.3 years and 25.0, respectively. Pre-existing Osgood-Schlatter disease was identified in 31% cases and was most commonly associated with type I fractures (P < 0.001). Most fractures occurred while participating in athletics (86%). Initial treatment was surgical for 67% fractures. Type III fractures were most common (41%), followed by type I (29%). Type I fractures were most commonly treated nonoperatively (91%) and types II-V fractures were most commonly treated surgically (89%, P < 0.001). Compartment syndrome was identified in 4 (2%) patients, 3 of which had type IV fractures. Most patients returned to sports (88%). Tibial tubercle fractures are sports-related injuries and occur most commonly in adolescent males. They can be associated with pre-existing Osgood-Schlatter disease, a higher than average BMI, and a small but relevant risk of compartment syndrome. Following treatment, most patients return to sports participation.

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