October 2, 2018
A stress fracture, also known as a fatigue-induced fracture, consists of one or more small cracks in the bone. It is associated with a pattern of overuse, commonly seen in the lower extremity in athletes.
Repetitive motion is one the mechanisms that result in a stress fracture. The muscles become fatigued and are unable to absorb ground force, which is transmitted to the bone. This overload results in stress fractures over a period. High impact sporting activities that result in this injury include:
- Track and field activities
The main symptom is pain in the extremities which worsens with activity and subsides with rest.
As with any bone injury, the confirmatory diagnostic test is an x-ray. In some cases, a CAT scan or MRI is requested if the x-ray is not conclusive.
The pain stimulus is the body’s natural mechanism to protect itself from severe self-inflicted injury. The rule of thumb for immediate treatment is:
Rest (and limited weight bearing) is an important aspect of stress reduction on the bone and surrounding joints. Shoe inserts also help with shock absorption.Read the Newsletter