Athletes with buckle fractures can get back in the game

Published 8:24 am Friday, August 21, 2009

A patient asks: My 11-year-old son has a buckle fracture of his wrist, and the orthopedic doctor casted him and said that he can play football. Is that safe?

Dr. Patel writes: Dear patient, Buckle fractures of the wrist can be painful if treated without a cast and also risk breaking the bone completely.

If you immobilize them in a well-padded fiberglass cast, it is safe for your son to play contact sports as long as the integrity of the cast is not compromised.

I also try to get my athletes back in the game as soon as I think it is safe for them to play.

DW ASKS: I have recently been diagnosed with a SLAP tear in my shoulder. What exactly is it, and what can I do for it?

Dr. Patel writes: Dear, DW, A SLAP (Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior) tear occurs when there is damage to the labrum where the biceps tendon attaches to the glenoid (the socket part of the shoulder). A SLAP tear can occur from repetitive trauma in overhead athletes. It can also be from a fall or if the arm is jerked quickly.

Many patients will complain of pain on the front part of the shoulder and even a popping or grinding sensation inside the joint.

A SLAP tear can be diagnosed with a good clinical exam in the office and can be confirmed by a MRI.

A conservative approach to treatment is the first option. Physical therapy is usually prescribed to work on range of motion and strength.

If this does not alleviate the pain, then an arthroscopic repair or debridement of the biceps and labrum is performed.

You may be in pillow sling and then have a rehab course to get you back pain free and with no weakness in the shoulder.

Dr. Manish Patel has extensive training in treating shoulder, elbow and knee injuries, and performing arthroscopic surgery. He is the principal medical practitioner in the offices of Southampton Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center, on the campus of Southampton Memorial Hospital. Submit questions about sports medicine, injuries and treatment for this column to, or call Patel at 562-7301.