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Management of proximal rectus femoris injuries -- do we know what we're doing? A systematic review
Bogwasi L, Holtzhausen L, van Rensburg DCJ, van Rensburg AJ, Botha T
Biology of Sport 2023 Apr;40(2):497-512
systematic review

Rectus femoris (RF) injury is a concern in sports. The management RF strains/tears and avulsion injuries need to be clearly outlined. A systematic review of literature on current management strategies for RF injuries, and to ascertain the efficacy thereof by the return to sport (RTS) time and re-injury rates. Literature search using Medline via PubMed, WorldCat, Embase, SPORTDiscus. Eligible studies were reviewed. Thirty-eight studies involving hundred and fifty-two participants were included. Majority (n = 138, 91%) were males, 80% (n = 121) sustained RF injury from kicking and 20% (n = 31) during sprinting. The myotendinous (MT), (n = 27), free tendon (FT), (n = 34), and anterior-inferior iliac spine (AIIS), (n = 91) were involved. Treatment was conservative (n = 115) or surgical (n = 37) across the subgroups. 73% (n = 27) of surgical treatments followed failed conservative treatment. The mean RTS was shorter with successful conservative treatment (MT 1, FT 4, AIIS avulsion 2.9 months). Surgical RTS ranged from 2 to 9 months and 18 months with labral involvement. With either group, there was no re-injury within 24 months follow-up. With low certainty of evidence RF injury occurs mostly from kicking, resulting in a tear or avulsion at the FT and AIIS regions with or without a labral tear. With low certainty, findings suggest that successful conservative treatment provides a shortened RTS. Surgical treatment remains an option for failed conservative treatment of RF injuries across all subgroups. High-level studies are recommended to improve the evidence base for the treatment of this significant injury.

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