Stress fractures are a form of bone injury caused by excessive use of a particular bone. These fractures occur when the usage of a bone exceeds its ability of natural repair, leading to cracks in the internal bone structure. The bones most prone to stress fractures are those of the legs, the pelvis, and the feet. This condition is commonly seen in sportspersons, and is brought about by excessive jumping or running, and other repetitive movements like bowling or rowing.
- Overuse of bones in the lower extremities
- Low estrogen levels in women
- Lack of warming up before excessive physical activity
- Decrease in bone density with age
- Weakened bones due to osteoporosis
- Long-term use of corticosteroids
- Poorly cushioned shoes
- Anatomical abnormalities like fallen arches
- Poor-quality sports equipment
- Dull pain around the affected area, which worsens with physical activity and resolves with rest.
- Swelling around the site of the fracture.
- Spot tenderness upon touching.
- Pain that worsens at night is a typical symptom of stress fractures.
- Ignoring these symptoms can cause the condition to worsen, leading to earlier onset of pain with light physical activity.
- Home care for stress fractures follows the same regimen as that for most orthopedic disorders, constituting RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
- You might need to see a doctor if the pain gets worse with time or refuses to subside. OrthoTexas, a leading orthopedic clinic located in Plano and other areas in Texas offers medical treatment for the condition.
- The treatment begins with the administration of anti-inflammatory medication, combined with analgesics.
- If the condition does not subside with these medications orthopedic treatment consisting of casts, crutches, walking boots, or braces, all of which help to limit the movement.
- A healing time of 1-3 months is recommended, before physical activity can be gradually reintroduced.
- Physical therapy aimed at improving strength and flexibility is also recommended in the treatment of stress fractures. This can help to prevent recurrence of the stress fractures.
- In case of extreme pain, patients might need to be administered with pain medications.
- The final line of treatment that is opted for in severe cases of stress fractures is surgery. This is usually needed in case the fractures displace.