What Is A Stress Fracture? A stress fracture is a hairline crack that can occur in bones from repeated or prolonged use. The most common sites for stress fracture are the foot bones (metatarsals), shin bone (tibia), outer lower leg bone (fibula), thigh bone (femur), and back bones (vertebrae).
How Does It Occur? Stress fractures are overuse injuries. the majority of leg injuries occur during activities such as running, jumping, or dancing. Stress fractures of the feet were originally called march fractures because they were commonly seen in military personnel.
What Are The Symptoms For A Stress Fracture? You have pain with activity. You may have swelling and bruising. And the bone along the affected area is often tender to the touch.
How Is It Diagnosed? Your doctor will examine you and may order an x-ray. However, x-rays do not always show a stress fracture. Your doctor may order a more specialized test called a bone scan.
How Is A Stress Fracture Treated? The most important treatment for a stress fracture is rest. Other treatment may include: 1) applying ice packs over your injury for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 to 3 days or until the pain goes away 2) if you are a runner, running only if there is no pain 3) changing your activity, such as from running to swimming 4) taking anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by your doctor 5) wearing a cast for 3 to 6 weeks while your bone heals.
When Can I Return To My Sport Or Activity? The goal of rehabilitation is to return you to your sport or activity as soon as is safely possible. If you return too soon you may worsen your injury, which could lead to permanent damage. Everyone recovers from injury at a different rate. Return to your activity will be determined by how soon the fracture heals, not by how many days or weeks it has been since your injury occurred. In general, the longer you have symptoms before you start treatment, the longer it will take to get better. After a stress fracture you may try sports or activities that do not cause pain. It is very important not to "run through the pain" because this may cause further injury. You should vary your activity for one week at a time. For instance, if you have a stress fracture from running, you should either rest or swim for a week, then attempt to run short distances. If there is no pain, you can gradually increase your distance.
How Can I Prevent A Stress Fracture? Stress fractures are caused by overuse. The best way to avoid getting a stress fracture is to listen to your body and not force yourself to do activities while you are in pain. When you start a new exercise program or increase your training program, you should allow your body a chance to adapt to the new stresses being placed on your body by now increasing the intensity or duration of your training program too fast. DME-Direct carries a variety of calf supports to help reduce pain and inflammation associated with over training and to help reduce pain associated with the mild to severe shin splints.
All material provided is designed for information purposes only and should not be used to replace the care of a health care professional. Do not rely on any of the information for diagnosis or treatment. It is recommended that you visit a qualified health care professional for individual and personal attention.