A fracture is not only the condition where the bone breaks into two or more pieces. Sometimes, there is a slight break in the bone, but that does not lead to the development of broken fragments. Such a condition is known as a stress fracture. In this post, our focus will be on discussing what is a stress fracture along with its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is a Stress Fracture?

A stress fracture is a condition where there is a slight break in the bone and that generally occurs due to overuse of that particular bone. This situation originates when a small or moderate amount of pressure is repeatedly applied to a single bone for a long time.

While in the case of fractures that occur due to trauma, a significant amount of force is applied suddenly on the bone and that results in a fracture. Traumatic fractures are more serious and they generally require surgery. Depending upon the location, cause, and severity of the fracture, the surgeon will decide which type of Orthopedic Implants are required.

What are the Causes of Stress Fracture?

As also mentioned above, overuse and a specific repetitive motion of a bone over a period of time result in stress fracture. These types of fractures are most common in athletes like football, cricket,  hockey, golf, and basketball players. Besides this, gymnasts and wrestlers are also prone to these injuries.

The condition is also common in people with weak bones and those who are suffering from osteoporosis. Such people can experience stress fracture even with slight awkward bending of their ankle or knee and also due to holding a little heavy weight.

Which Bones are most affected by Stress Fracture?

All bones present in the lower leg, foot, and ankle are prone to getting stress fracture, but the below-mentioned are the most common ones involved:

  • Metatarsals
  • Calcaneus bone
  • Bones in the ankle joint including tibia and fibula
  • Navicular bone (present near the ankle)

What are the Symptoms Associated with Stress Fracture?

Persistent pain is the key symptom for this type of injury. Besides this, pain while touching the affected area is another symptom that could be seen.

Swelling in certain cases is noticed along with the difficulty in using the affected area.

How Stress Fracture is Diagnosed?

Physical examination is what the doctor will do first to notice the location of the pain and its cause. Once becoming satisfied, the doctor will suggest an X-ray to examine the location of the fracture. If things are unclear in X-ray examination, MRI will also be performed. 

What is the Treatment of Stress Fracture?

Stress fractures can heal on their own if the use of the affected area is limited. But still, it is advised to seek a specialist’s help to avoid any serious complications.

In some cases, the use of special boots may be suggested to ensure proper healing of the bone in the foot or ankle. In the case of stress fractures, it is advised to stop all the high-impact activities for a specific period of time.

Remember, if timely treatment is not taken, the condition may become worse and surgery may be required.

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