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What is Spondylolysis?

Spondylolysis is a stress fractures of the pars interarticulari. It often occurs in young athletes involved in sports that require hyperextension and rotation. This condition is due to overuse and is commonly seen in gymnastics, cricket (fast bowlers), tennis, rowing, weight lifting, dance, wrestling, pole vaulting and high jump. The fracture usually occurs on the side opposite to the one performing the activity i.e. left-sided fractures in right-handed tennis players.


The patient will complain of unilateral low back ache occasionally associated with buttock pain. The pain is aggravates by movements involving extension. The stress fracture may have been caused by a single episode of hyperextension.


Treatment involves restricting athletic activity responsible for the pain, stretching the hamstring and gluteal muscles and strengthening the abdominal and back extensor muscles as soon as possible. This is an injury where an early diagnosis and rehabilitation programme is essential.

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