Mahi Clinic / Treatments / Stress Fractures

Stress Fractures

A stress fracture is an injury that occurs from the overuse of muscles around a bony structure. When these muscles become fatigued and are unable to absorb the added shock, it will transfer the stress overload to the associated bone, leading to a tiny crack called a stress fracture.
Weight bearing bones of the lower leg and the foot are most commonly affected from stress fractures.

Causes of stress fracture:

Stress fractures often occur due to any of the following reasons:

  • Rapid increase in the amount or intensity of an activity
  • Trauma caused by the repetitive stress of the foot striking ground
  • Impact of an unfamiliar surface (change of soft to hard surface or vice versa)
  • Improper equipment (like worn or less flexible shoes)
  • Increased physical stress

Risk activities that make athletes most susceptible to stress fractures

Sportspersons involved in the following activities are at higher risk of developing stress fractures:

  • Tennis
  • Trackers
  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Gymnastics
  • Basketball
  • Bowling a ball in cricket
  • Rowing

All the sportsperson (especially females) are therefore advised to take sufficient rest between workouts or competitions to avoid any kind of stress fracture.

Symptoms of a stress fracture
  • Pain with activity that subsides with rest.
  • Swelling or tenderness over the site.
Treatment of a stress fracture :

While most of the stress fractures heal on their own with rest for 6-8 weeks from the activity and sports, they can recur if the activity is resumed too quickly and harshly. In addition to rest, following may also help in the healing of fracture:

  • Shoe inserts or braces
  • Splint or cast to immobilise the affected area
  • Use of crutches or a walking stick
  • Though unusual, Surgery in cases of severe stress fractures will be required if there is a poor blood supply around the affected area.

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