(1) To investigate the clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of slipping rib syndrome in athletes; (2) to investigate the hooking maneuver for diagnosis of slipping rib syndrome.
Retrospective chart review of 362 athletes with rib pain.
Pediatric-based sports medicine clinic between January 1, 1999, and March 1, 2014.
Costochondritis, Tietze, fractures, rib tip syndrome, and unclear diagnoses were excluded. Athletes were included who had a palpable rib subluxation, mechanical rib symptom, positive hooking maneuver, or resolution of pain after the resection of a slipping rib segment.
Slipping rib syndrome is associated with athletic performance.
Fifty-four athletes were diagnosed with slipping rib syndrome, of which 38 (70%) were females. Mean age at presentation was 19.1 years (range 4-40 years). Mean number of previous specialist consultations per athlete was 2.3 and mean time from symptom onset to diagnosis was 15.4 months. The hooking maneuver was attempted 21 times (38.9%). Unilateral symptoms presented in 49 athletes (90.7%). The most symptomatic rib was the 10th, affecting 24 athletes (44.4%), eighth and ninth were affected in 17 athletes (31.5%) each. Most, 39 (72.2%), reported insidious onset of symptoms. Running, rowing, lacrosse, and field hockey were frequently associated activities. Twelve athletes had psychiatric diagnoses (22.2%), 10 (19.2%) were hypermobile. Sixty-six total imaging studies were performed. The most successful treatment options included: osteopathic manipulative treatment (71.4%), surgical resection (70%), and diclofenac gel (60%).
Most athletes with slipping rib syndrome were active females with insidious onset of unilateral pain, a high prevalence of hypermobility and prolonged pain. The hooking maneuver was underused.
*Pediatric Orthopedic Associates, Next Level Sports Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia;
†The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention, Waltham, Massachusetts;
‡Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts;
§Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts;
¶Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; and
‖Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Corresponding Author: Cassidy M. Foley, DO, Nemours Children's Hospital, 13535 Nemours Parkway, Orlando, FL 32827 (Cassidy.Foley@Nemours.org).
W. P. Meehan receives royalties from ABC-CLIO publishing for the sale of his book, Kids, Sports, and Concussion: A guide for coaches and parents and royalties from Wolters Kluwer for working as an author for UpToDate. His research is funded, in part, by a grant from the National Football League Players Association and by philanthropic support from the National Hockey League Alumni Association through the Corey C. Griffin Pro-Am Tournament.
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
Received March 11, 2017
Accepted July 22, 2017