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Rehabilitation of Watson-Jones proximal tibial avulsion injury in elite academy level football: A report of two separate cases in one season

Clark, D and Goodwin, PC (2020) Rehabilitation of Watson-Jones proximal tibial avulsion injury in elite academy level football: A report of two separate cases in one season. Physical Therapy in Sport, 46. pp. 23-29. ISSN 1466-853X

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Abstract

© 2020 Elsevier Ltd Objectives: Watson-Jones proximal tibial avulsion injuries occur more frequently in athletic and muscular adolescent males. However, they are rare and therefore infrequently described in the medical literature. Two of these injuries occurred in a Category 1 football academy in the same season within a six-month period. We have described the cases with the hope of better informing other clinicians should they encounter this injury. Methods: This case report describes the injury mechanism, surgical management and rehabilitation for the two cases [Players A and B]. Outcomes measures including player speed, agility and power were compared with scores from players of the same age group at the time of injury in the Premier League academies. Risk factors are also discussed. Results: Both players were managed surgically, initially. Player B had the surgical fixation removed during rehabilitation. Player A still has the fixation in situ. Post-surgery, player A returned to full play at thirty-two weeks and thirty-eight weeks for player B. No critical incidents occurred during rehabilitation. Conclusion: Watson-Jones avulsion fractures, although rare, can be managed successfully. Athletes can achieve a successful return to play at their previous level.

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