What is stress fracture

stress fracture of bone is a fatigue fracture which occurs due to repetitive overused activities. it is like hairline crack in bone which can be missed even in X-ray

Common site of stress fracture 

  • Proximal tibia (shin bone)
  • Distal tibia
  • 2nd metatarsal bone of foot
  • 3rd metatarsal bone of foot
  • Femur neck

Which activities may lead to stress fracture

Repetitive trauma leads to stress fracture like long distance running, repetitive jumping, dancing, high impact sports like basketball, tennis, gymnastics.

Symptoms (What you feel)

You feel pain on affected area

Your pain increase with time

Your pain intensity also increase with activity and resolve with rest

Diagnosis

Signs (What your doctor feel)

Your orthopaedic doctor will check your affected area for tenderness and swelling and he will compare of your both limb. Stress fracture can be bilateral and you may have symptoms on both limb at same site and same bone. on clinical examination of your limb your orthopaedic surgeon can diagnose stress fracture and he may advise investigation to confirm it or to rule out other possible causes.

X-ray- Your stress fracture may be visualised in routine x-ray  but it is very difficult to diagnose at early stage. Stress fracture can diagnose after start of healing due to your doctor can see callous formation at fracture site.

MRI or CT Scan or Bone Scan- When your stress fracture is not identified in x-ray and your clinician has strong suspicion of stress fracture based on your clinical examination and your history then he may advise MRI scan or CT scan to diagnose your stress fracture

Treatment

If a stress fracture is not treated at an early stage, the pain can become severe and it will take more time to heel. There is also a risk that the stress fracture may become displaced (the fractured bone moves out of normal alignment) and then surgery will be only option to unite. Certain stress fractures (hip) are considered “high risk” stress fractures because they may have a poor outcome if not identified early and may need early surgery.

Stress fracture can be treated by various means most important stop doing activities which cause pain.there are many way of conservative treatment for stress fracture including activity modifications, protective shoe wear, plaster cast or in some severe case you may need a surgery to fix stress fracture, So when you feel continuous pain on doing same activity you should go to orthopaedic surgeon for consultation about your pain.early treatment of stress fracture can decrease healing time and unnecessary surgery.

Prevention from stress fracture 

  • Increase duration of your training and start activity gradually
  • Cross training
  • Aternate day training
  • Healthy diet
  • Proper footwear and equipment

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