The authors presented a case report of a 21-year-old female elite runner who was diagnosed with pelvic stress injury and used an antigravity treadmill during rehabilitation.
The runner had a medical history of left high hamstring tendinopathy, oligomenorrhea, osteopenia, and prior metatarsal stress fractures. She had buttock pain of 4 weeks’ duration.
On examination, she reported mild pain with direct palpation in a posteroanterior direction over the anatomical region that included the left lateral sacroiliac joint and left piriformis muscle.
Her neurologic examination was normal, including 5/5 motor strength, intact sensation, and 2+ reflexes at the patella and Achilles tendon.
Magnetic resonance imaging of the pelvis revealed a stress reaction with marrow edema of the left ileum adjacent to the sacroiliac joint without evidence of cortical discontinuity.
The patient was evaluated by a physical therapist 5 days after diagnosis and started isometric core and hip stabilisation exercises.
She advanced her weightbearing exercise status by using an antigravity treadmill.
She attempted 3 runs at 50%-70% body weight during week 3 but experienced pain afterwards and stopped running completely for 1 week.
At 5 weeks after the diagnosis, she ran at 50% body weight without discomfort.
By week 10 after initial diagnosis, she competed at the conference championship and achieved the qualifying standard for the first round of the NCAA Track Championships 1 week later.
She competed in both 10,000-m races 1 week apart without pain or recurrence of her injury.
The authors concluded that the use of an antigravity treadmill in recovery from iliac stress injuries may contribute to rehabilitation of bone healing while preserving aerobic fitness and return to competition.
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