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Postoperative recreational sports and subjective shoulder function: a comprehensive analysis following intramedullary stabilization of displaced midshaft clavicular fractures.

Introduction Sports-related outcomes and the role of recreational sports activities for shoulder function after intramedullary stabilization (IMS) of displaced midshaft clavicular fractures (DMCFs) in the general population are not well known. In this study, we aimed to determine the sport-related outcomes (return-to-sports [RTS] rate, type of sports, time until RTS, and intensity) and to explore the role of sports after IMS of DMCFs. Materials and Methods This single-center, retrospective, cohort study included patients who underwent IMS of DMCFs between 2009 and 2022 at a Level II trauma center in Germany, experienced no major complications, and had completed at least 1 year of follow-up. Propensity score matching was conducted to obtain a balanced sample of patients who did not engage (cases) and engaged (controls) in postoperative sports activities by adjusting for age and fracture complexity. Groups were compared to assess the impact of regular sports activities on subjective shoulder functioning at follow-up, as evaluated using the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand and Oxford Shoulder Score (OSS) questionnaires, after controlling for the patient- (i.e., sex and smoking) and treatment- (i.e., surgery duration and physical therapy) factors. Results Among the 199 patients included, the RTS rate was 97.5%, and 160 patients practiced regular postoperative activity, mostly in the same sport and intensity. In the matched cohort (39 cases and 39 controls), practicing regular sports activities postoperatively was the only independent factor associated with a higher OSS in the multiple regression analysis (unstandardized regression coefficient = 2.40; Bias-corrected and accelerated 95% confidence interval [0.28, 4.69]). Conclusions The sport-related outcomes after IMS of DMCFs in our cohort were comparable to those achieved after plate osteosynthesis, and IMS reported in the literature. Recreational sports activities benefitted subjective shoulder function, thereby encouraging further research and potentially influencing management policies. Level of evidence Grade IV - a retrospective observational cohort study.

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