A stress fracture is considered as a prevalent overuse injury that is often seen among athletes. In most cases, a fracture is caused by an acute event such as a fall or vehicular accident. In such circumstances, the bone is subjected to extreme force that causes the stress fracture.
Take note that a stress fracture can also occur once the forces are much lower, but occur constantly over a long period of time which is called as a fatigue fracture. Stress fractures are common among athletes who engage on various movements on firm surfaces such as basketball players, distance runners as well as ballet dancers.
Indications of a stress fracture
The usual indication of a stress fracture is pain linked with activity which is usually predictable. It simply means that the individual knows exactly how long into their workout or run until the pain develops and it typically resolves as soon as the body part is allowed to rest.
If the individual experiences persistent pain that does not resolve, a doctor should be consulted to assess the condition to ensure that there are no signs of a stress fracture. Since this overuse injury has a course and common physical findings, the examination and history are vital in the evaluation. In the X-ray results, it might not reveal a stress fracture but has evidence of bone attempting to heal around the fracture site.
How stress fractures develop?
The bone is constantly undergoing changes in order to adapt to its environment. Stress fractures are usually seen among athletes who increase their level of activity over a short span of time. The heightened demand placed on the bone causes it to remodel and become stronger in areas of higher stress.
Nevertheless, if the response of the bone could not maintain the pace of the constant demands, a stress fracture can develop. Stress fractures are likely to occur after increasing the intensity or duration of an activity too quickly for the body to adapt.
Another possible factor that contributes to the development of a stress fracture includes menstrual irregularities and dietary abnormalities. Since both factors contribute to bone health, any issues with the diet or menstruation can put an individual at increased risk for a stress fracture. This is one reason why adolescent females are at high risk for developing stress fractures.
Management of stress fractures
The suitable form of treatment for a stress fracture is to allow the injured body part to rest. In case there is no proof that the stress fracture can displace, avoidance of overuse activity might be enough. Nevertheless, if there is a possibility of displacement, weight-bearing should be avoided. Stress fractures on the hip must be taken seriously because if the risk for displacement is high, surgery is required and long-term complications are a substantial concern.