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Idiopathic scoliosis and spondylolysis in the female athlete. Tips for treatment.

Omey ML, Micheli LJ, Gerbino PG 2nd. Clin Orthop 2000 Mar;(372):74-84

Idiopathic scoliosis and spondylolysis can be common back problems in female athletes. Diagnosis and treatment can be difficult. With the notable trend toward increasing participation of women and girls in organized sports, it is necessary to know which sports carry additional risks for participants to have these two conditions develop and to determine treatment modalities. In general, idiopathic scoliosis is more prevalent in females and even may be higher in the athletes. Treatment options may include observation, the use of a brace, and surgery. In determining treatment, the type of sport and caliber of athlete must be considered in conjunction with the severity of the curve. Spondylolysis or a stress fracture of the posterior vertebral elements can be a common cause of back pain in an athlete. In many sports that are dominated by females (gymnastics, dancing, figure skating), the athletes carry a high risk of having spondylolysis or a stress fracture. Knowing the risk factors permits precise diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Treatment options include the use of a brace and surgery. In the current study, an extensive review of the literature in conjunction with the extensive experience of a well-established sports medicine clinic at the authors’ institution is presented.

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