The effect of a pneumatic leg brace on return to play in athletes with tibial stress fractures

E. James Swenson, Kenneth E. DeHaven, Wayne J. Sebastianelli, Gregory Hanks, Alexander Kalenak, James M. Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


A total of 18 competitive and recreational athletes were enrolled in a randomized, prospective study rooking at the effect of pneumatic leg braces on the time to return to full activity after a tibial stress fracture. All patients had positive bone scans and 15 had positive radiographic findings by Week 12. There were two treatment groups. The traditional treatment group was treated with rest and, after 3 pain-free days, a gradual return to activity. The pneumatic leg brace (Aircast) group had the brace applied to the affected leg and then followed the same return to activity guidelines. The guidelines consisted of a detailed functional progression that allowed pain-free return to play. The brace group was able to resume light activity in 7 days (median) and the traditional group began light activity in 21 days (median). The brace group returned to full, unrestricted activity in 21 ± 2 days, and the traditional group required 77 ± 7 days to resume full activity. The Aircast pneumatic brace is effective in allowing athletes with tibial stress fractures to return to full, unrestricted, pain-free activity significantly sooner than traditional treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-328
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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