Knee Surg Relat Res.  2018 Mar;30(1):89-92. 10.5792/ksrr.17.044.

Serial Radiographs Showing Progression of a Patellar Stress Fracture and Beneficial Surgical Technique for a Displaced Patellar Stress Fracture

  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rheumatology, Kyoto Shimogamo Hospital, Kyoto, Japan.


Stress fractures of the patella occurring in athletes are quite rare and only 23 cases have been introduced in English literatures. Stress fractures of the patella are classified into two types: transverse and longitudinal. They are mostly seen in the distal one-third of the patella on a plain lateral radiograph. We present here a 16-year-old female basketball player with a stress fracture of the patella. Her serial radiographs demonstrated progression of the fracture including a lytic cortex lesion, known as the gray cortex sign for early stage stress fractures, in the distal one-third of the patella on plain lateral radiographs. In addition, we introduce a surgical technique using non-absorbable suture ligatures (No.2 Ethibond) for a displaced transverse stress fracture of the patella when the extensor mechanism is intact. The ligatures are passed through into the patella using suture passers and simply tied down over the top of the patella. In our case, it led to neither hardware-related nor circumferential loop-related irritation postoperatively.


Patella; Fracture; Stress
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