Daily Bolus of LR: Clay Shoveler’s Fracture

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November 29, 2011 by dailybolusoflr

Clay Shoveler’s Fracture


·         This fracture is an oblique avulsion fracture of the base of the spinous process in the lower cervical vertebrae

·         Is a flexion fracture of the cervical spine, resulting from abrupt flexion of the neck

·         The mechanism from which this fracture received its name (from shoveling heavy clay) is not a typical mechanism any more; this fracture is more likely to occur from direct trauma to the area or in deceleration from an MVC

·         There is one case report of a clay shoveler’s fracture from an aggressive game playing episode on the Wii (so be careful!)

·         Given the location of the fracture in only the spinous process, these fractures are considered “stable” cervical spine fractures

·         Given that most people in the US are not shoveling clay, don’t forget to look for associated injuries

·         See the injury here: http://radiographics.rsna.org/content/24/4/1009/F13.expansion.html



Ref: Rosen’s 7th ed

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