Stress Fractures

What is a Stress Fracture? 

Repetitive stress over a particular bone may result in the breaking of that bone i.e the Stress Fracture. Stress fractures, also known as Fatigue Fractures are commonly seen in the metatarsals of the foot. The stress or fatigue fractures develop as a small crack in the outer shell of the bone.

Symptoms of Stress Fracture

Stress fractures show the following symptoms ““

  • Bruising or redness at the site of fracture
  • Swelling of skin over the site of fracture
  • Piercing pain at the site of the fracture that gets aggravated with movement
  • Tenderness at the site

Causes of Stress Fractures

Repeated stress and over exhaustion of a particular bone causes the muscles to become weak and fatigued. The tired and fatigued muscles do not act as shock absorbers for the bone. In this situation, the bone bears all the stress and it eventually cracks under the stress. Other causes could be abnormal foot structure or mechanics like the flat foot, foot deformities like hammer toe, bunion, increased level of activities with proper care, obesity, improper shoes and osteoporosis.

Treatment of Stress Fractures

Stress Fractures could be treated and completely healed within 8 weeks with proper rest and right medication. Rest will help the bone to repair while medications will help fight the swelling, inflammation and pain at the site of fracture. Rest is extremely important in the treatment of the Stress fractures. Carelessness and improper care may cause the fracture to never heal properly or lead to the misalignment of the bone or reinjury.

Prevention of Stress Fractures

  • Do not stress your bones by strenuous physical activity immediately.
  • Start with your sport or physical activity slowly and then gradually increase the intensity allowing the bones and muscles to get used to the stress.
  • Eat a balanced and healthy diet.
  • Wear proper shoes.
  • Stop activity if you see swelling or pain occurring.
  • If pain increases, it is always good to consult an orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible.