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Case report
Importance of screening in physical therapy: vertebral fracture of thoracolumbar junction in a recreational runner
  1. Filippo Maselli1,2,
  2. Giacomo Rossettini1,
  3. Antonello Viceconti1 and
  4. Marco Testa1
  1. 1 DINOGMI - Universita degli Studi di Genova Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Riabilitazione, Oftalmologia, Genetica e Scienze Materno-Infantili, Genova, Italy
  2. 2 Istituto Nazionale Assicurazione contro gli Infortuni sul Lavoro, Direzione Regionale Puglia INAIL, Bari, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Filippo Maselli, masellifilippo76{at}


Running is one of the most popular sports worldwide. Studies suggest that 11%–85% of recreational runners have at least one running-related injury (RRI) each year, resulting in a reduction or interruption in training. A high risk for running-related injuries (RRIs) represents an important inconvenience counterbalancing the beneficial effects of running. RRIs primarily affect the joints of the lower limb and lumbar spine. Noteworthy, in some cases, the clinical presentation of signs and symptoms is confusing and may hide serious conditions; thus, clinicians have to pay special attention when potential factors arise, such as the presence of red flags. As reported in this case report, patients can present with low back pain (LBP) as a primary problem, mimicking a red flag such as a fracture of the spine. The aim of this case report was to describe a case of a recreational runner presenting with LBP as the sole symptom of an underlying thoracolumbar fracture.

  • orthopaedic and trauma surgery
  • physiotherapy (sports medicine)
  • physiotherapy (rehabilitation)
  • back pain

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  • Contributors FM completed all examinations and decided on the final referral. FM, GR, AV and MT drafted the manuscript. FM performed the first clinical examination, and GR provided consultation on the interpretation of clinical examination findings, diagnosis and imaging method suggested. FM, GR and MT performed clinical revision of the paper’s content.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was first published. The video has been replaced with the video in which the patient’s face is blurred.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.