WHAT IS A STRESS FRACTURE?
A stress fracture is a tiny crack in your bone caused by repetitive stress or force. This damage to the bone is different than a single sudden impact.
WHO GETS STRESS FRACTURES?
Stress fractures are common among athletes who engage in activities that involve repetitive motion. Athletes that are most at risk for stress fractures include runners, basketball players, and soccer players, to name a few. In each of these sports, the repetitive stress of the foot striking the ground can cause trauma. Without enough rest between workouts or competitions, an athlete is at risk for developing a stress fracture. Sports activities where leanness is emphasized provide the highest risk for stress factors. In fact, female cheerleaders, long distance runners, gymnasts, and track and field athletes have higher reported rates of stress fractures than their male counterparts.
WHICH BONES ARE THE MOST IMPACTED?
Most stress fractures occur in the bones that are required to carry the most weight—the foot and lower leg. The most common locations for stress fractures are the second and third metatarsals of the foot. Stress fractures are also common in the heel, in the outer bone of the lower leg, and in the navicular (a bone located at the top of the foot).
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A STRESS FRACTURE?
- Minor pain and/or weakness in the area where the break is located
- Pain deep within the foot, ankle, or toe
- “Pinpoint pain” (tenderness at the site of the fracture when it is touched)
- Swelling on top of the foot or on the ankle
- Pain that occurs during or after normal activity
- Pain that is brought on by activity and relieved by rest
HOW CAN PHYSICAL THERAPY HELP STRESS FRACTURES?
One key to healing from a stress fracture is getting a diagnosis from a physical therapist. A physical therapist will determine which bones are impacted by the stress fracture and, depending on the damage, provide you with a customized recovery plan. It will include treatment methods for increasing flexibility and strengthening of the muscles.
Renew Physical Therapy helps athletes experiencing pain get back to their sport. Our job is to detect any biomechanical and lifestyle contributing factors to persistent pain conditions. This includes any sports activity in which you are involved. We continually re-assess each patient during his/her episode of care to ensure that the individualized treatment program is appropriately progressing toward a less painful and better quality of life.
IMG SRC: stress fracture, Health Jade
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