2022 Volume 6 Issue 5 Pages 540-544
Introduction: Lumbar spondylolysis is common in pediatric athletes, and many athletes can return to sports with conservative treatment. There are two initial treatment strategies: bony union or pain management, but the outcomes of these strategies have not been clarified. The purpose of this study is to investigate the rates of return to sports (RTS) and recurrence in pediatric athletes after conservative treatment for lumbar spondylolysis and to compare both treatment strategies.
Methods: A total of 180 patients with lumbar spondylolysis were managed with a trunk brace and cessation of sports activity (bone union [BU] group, n=95) or treated for pain only (pain management [PM] group, n=85). RTS and recurrence rates according to type of conservative treatment were compared.
Results: The RTS rate was 98.9% in the BU group and 97.6% in the PM group at 4.7±1.9 and 1.8±1.7 months, respectively. Recurrence occurred in 7.4% of patients in the BU group at 19.0±16.0 months and in 4.8% of the PM group at 17.8±5.2 months.
Conclusions: The RTS rate in pediatric athletes with lumbar spondylolysis was high at more than 95%, regardless of type of conservative treatment. The mean time to RTS was longer in the BU group than in the PM group (4.7 vs. 1.8 months) because of the time required for bone healing. There were several cases of recurrence after RTS. Strategies to prevent recurrence of lumbar spondylolysis in pediatric athletes are discussed.