A stress fracture is a tiny crack in the bone. Most stress fractures occur in the lower leg and foot. They can also occur in the hip and other areas. Most stress fractures can heal spontaneously. However, some may lead to complete fractures, or may require surgery.
Pain when pressure is applied directly over the fracture and the area around it
Pain when putting stress on the affected leg
Swelling and warmth at injury site
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and examine the injured area for localized pain and swelling.
Tests may include:
—a test that uses radiation to take pictures of structures inside the body, especially bone
Stress fractures are very tiny and usually not seen on an x-ray until at least two weeks after symptoms begin.
—a test that uses magnetic waves to show swelling and inflammation inside the bone
—a test that uses a short-lived radioactive substance to show a stress fracture
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve pain, but controversy exists about their use for stress fractures. It is possible that NSAIDs adversely affect stress fracture healing.
Rest is the most important thing you can do for a stress fracture
. This includes avoiding the activity that caused the fracture and any other activities that cause pain. Rest time required is at least 6-8 weeks.
Crutches or a Cane
You may need
to keep pressure off the leg.
Talk with your doctor about when you can restart activity and how to progress with the amount and type of activity.
A common progression:
Begin with non-weight–bearing activities, such as swimming or bicycling.
Next, you can do weight-bearing, non-impact exercise, such as a stair machine.
Gradually, you will be able to add low-impact activity, starting with walking.
Once you can do fast-paced walking with no pain, you can start higher impact activity, such as light jogging.
This gradual progression continues until you have reached your pre-injury activity level. You can return to full activity once you do not feel tenderness of the bone.
To reduce your chance of getting a stress fracture:
Wear proper footwear.
Run on a softer surface, such as grass, dirt, or certain outdoor tracks.
Gradually increase the amount and intensity of an activity.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a