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Patient Education


Management of a delayed-union sesamoid fracture in a dancer.


ADAM Center, Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY, USA. sbronner@liu.edu



Misdiagnosed o sesamoid bone pathology in dancers may result in prolonged pain, disability, and career limitation. A thorough understanding of sesamoid disorders and appropriate treatment facilitates timely recovery. The potential loss of hallux plantar flexion strength consequent to sesamoidectomy is a major consideration for dancers.


An 18-year-old dance student sustained a delayed-union fracture of her lateral (fibular) sesamoid. Treatment included an inductive coupling external bone stimulator with pulsed electromagnetic field, activity, and weight-bearing restrictions, protective padding, strengthening, functional retraining, and progressive return to dance.


Following use of an external bone stimulator for 12 months, the dancer successfully returned to her previous level of dancing. Repeated SF-36 and Dance Functional Outcome System scores confirmed this improvement.


Loss of hallux plantar flexion strength with sesamoid resection can be devastating to a dancer who requires push-off strength for multiple turns and jumps. Treatment with bone stimulation was therefore selected over more invasive measures. The dancer was compliant with systematic functional progression. Improvement, as seen on radiographs and outcome scores, accompanied her full functional recovery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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