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Sports Medicine Feature

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Trauma Responsible for Most Coracoid Fractures in Sports

Tracey Romero • Fri, March 9th, 2018

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Coracoid fractures, fractures of the coracoid bone that connects the cranial edge of the sternum to the shoulder joint complex, are rare in a sports setting, but when they do happen it is usually due to trauma and in the presence of an associated acromioclavicular (AC) Joint injury in the shoulder complex, according to a new study, “Prevalence and Management of Coracoid Fracture Sustained During Sporting Activities and Time to Return to Sport: A Systematic Review,” published in the March 2018 issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

The researchers conducted a systematic review of studies published between January 1970 and April 2017 to identify coracoid fractures sustained during sporting activities and to determine prevalence of these fractures, types of treatment and return to sport rate.

According to the data, 21 cases of coracoid fractures occurred during this time period. Acute trauma was responsible for 71% (n = 15/21) of the fractures. The rest were secondary to fatigue fractures. In addition, in 60% of the athletes who sustained acute trauma, AC joint injury was also present. Athletes who experienced fatigue fractures however didn’t have concurrent AC joint injury.

When it comes to treatment, 76% (n=16/21) of the patients were able to be treated nonoperatively and only 3 of the 16 reported having complications. The mean overall time to return to sport was 2.8±2.0 months, with no differences between those who had traumatic or fatigue fractures or between those with or without AC joint injury. Types of treatment didn’t seem to influence return to sport rate either.

The researchers wrote, “Coracoid fractures secondary to sporting activities are rare, occurring primarily from direct trauma with associated AC joint injury, and are treated successfully with nonoperative management.”

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