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Jesse C DeLee, David Drez Jr. WB Saunders, 2003, £220, pp 2624 (2 volumes), hardcover. ISBN 0721628362
Coming nine years after the first edition, the second edition of DeLee and Drez’s Orthopaedic sports medicine is an impressive tome to complement any bookshelf. Containing over 2600 pages, this text is at best a valuable resource for the sports medicine clinician. At worst, it is potentially a health hazard, as mishandling of either of the 4 kg volumes could deliver a significant midfoot injury to the inattentive reader!
The authors have made a noble attempt to deal with non-surgical issues such as nutrition for sports, sports pharmacology, sports psychology, the female athlete, and environmental stress. That this remains essentially an orthopaedic surgical text, however, is best illustrated by the fact that anterior cruciate ligament injury is covered over 70 pages whereas osteitis pubis is covered in less than one page.
The early chapters covering basic orthopaedic sciences are particularly well written and provide information that is both detailed and current. The orthopaedic chapters deal with different regions of the body in a piecemeal fashion. Each chapter contains sections on anatomy, biomechanics, and radiology relevant to that body region. These sections are excellent. The radiological discussions are well supported by medical imaging photographs. The brevity of the rehabilitation sections is the only disappointment with the orthopaedic chapters.
No publication of this scale can be all things to all readers. The non-orthopaedic chapters provide an informative introduction for surgeons wishing to familiarise themselves with non-surgical issues. These chapters, however, tend to be brief, lacking in detail and current references. They do not provide the depth of knowledge required for specialist sports medicine training or practice. For instance, the section on stretching is largely a recycled version of a previously published chapter (acknowledged by the authors). The section is poorly referenced and out of date (including the authors cross-reference to their own previously published work), the most recent reference dated 1988. There are glib assertions that stretching prevents injuries and provides skill enhancement, without any attempt to support such assertions with scientific evidence. There is no discussion of recent papers challenging the benefits of static stretching in asymptomatic individuals.
Overall this is an ambitious but very readable resource text. It should be included in the recommended list of texts for any postgraduate sports medicine training course. The strength is in the orthopaedic sciences. The weakness is in the non-orthopaedic chapters which tend to lack detail and current knowledge.