Stress Fractures PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 09 February 2012 07:47

When the muscles become so exhausted and are unable to absorb further shock, the overused muscles transfer the overload of stress to the bone causing a tiny crack. This tiny crack is what we call stress fracture.

foot3Stress fractures can be caused by:

  • increasing the amount of intensity of an activity too fast
  • sudden change of surface which you are doing your activity e.g. soft clay to cemented or sand to cemented.
  • improper equipment
  • increase in physical stress

Most stress fractures occur in the weightbearing bones of the lower leg and the foot. More than 50 percent of all stress fractures occur in the lower leg.

Who affects stress fractures?

Stress fractures affect all people in differect ages, specially those who partake in repetitive activities, like running. However, female althletes are more prone to stress fractures from men, because of the many factors which affects the female bone mass (like eating disorders, amenorrhea and osteoporosis).


How are stress fractures diagnosed?

  • doctor's examination and evaluation of the patients risk for stress fracture
  • X-rays
  • sometime an MRI(magnetic resonance imaging)  will be needed


How are stress fractures treated?

The most important treatment is rest. Individuals need to rest from the activity that caused the stress fracture, and engage in a pain-free activity during the six to eight weeks it takes most stress fractures to heal.

If the activity that caused the stress fracture is resumed too quickly, larger, harder-to-heal stress fractures can develop. Re-injury also could lead to chronic problems where the stress fracture might never heal properly.

In addition to rest, shoe inserts or braces may be used to help these injuries heal.


How do you prevent stress fractures?

Here are some tips developed by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons to help prevent stress fractures:

  • When participating in any new sports activity, set incremental goals. For example, do not immediately set out to run five miles a day; instead, gradually build up your mileage on a weekly basis.
  • Cross-training -- alternating activities that accomplish the same fitness goals -- can help to prevent injuries like stress fractures. Instead of running every day to meet cardiovascular goals, run on even days and bike on odd days. Add some strength training and flexibility exercises to the mix for the most benefit.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Make sure you incorporate calcium- and Vitamin D-rich foods in your meals.
  • Use the proper equipment. Do not wear old or worn running shoes.
  • If pain or swelling occurs, immediately stop the activity and rest for a few days. If continued pain persists, see an orthopaedic surgeon.
  • It is important to remember that if you recognize the symptoms early and treat them appropriately, you can return to sports at your normal playing level.
from : AAOS © 2009. all rights reserved