A stress fracture is a small crack of the bone that usually occurs in the weight-bearing bones, such as those in the feet and lower legs. An experienced orthopaedic doctor is best equipped to diagnose a stress fracture, but it is important to educate yourself about this condition if you believe you may be suffering from such an injury. Continue reading to learn more.
What Causes Stress Fractures?
Most stress fractures are characterized as overuse injuries and occur when you increase any type of high-impact activity by frequency, intensity, or duration. Factors that can increase your risk for incurring a stress fracture include exercising too much too soon, using improper sports equipment, changing surfaces or grades while running, practicing improper exercise techniques, and having insufficient training. Individuals with insufficient bone density due to a genetic disposition, osteoporosis, or hormonal changes may also be at an increased risk for stress fractures.
What Are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of a stress fracture will vary based on the affected bone. However, common symptoms of a stress fracture include:
- Tenderness to the touch near the site of the fracture.
- Pain that develops gradually and gets worse during weight-bearing activities.
- Pain or aching sensation that becomes more severe during normal activities.
- Swelling and bruising.
How Are Stress Fractures Treated?
Your orthopaedic surgeon will recommend a number of treatment methods based on the location and severity of the stress fracture. Initial treatment will typically include rest, ice, and elevation; however, a patient who suffers a stress fracture to the tibia, tarsal navicular, or fibula may require a cast to keep the bones in a fixed position and remove stress. Surgical treatment is rarely needed and usually reserved for individuals whose stress fractures do not heal with conventional treatment or casting.
The best way to determine which treatment method is right for you is to consult your orthopaedic doctor. Get the care you need by contacting MK Orthopaedics at (815) 741-6900. We also perform knee replacement and hip replacement surgery.