Monday, August 4, 2014

Stress Fractures: Cracking Under Pressure


What is a stress fracture?
A stress fracture is a small crack in the bone. You could consider a stress fracture as an overuse injury because it can be caused by repetitive application of force. Stress fractures can also occur as a result of normal use of a bone that has been weakened by a medical condition, such as osteoporosis.

Stress fractures most commonly occur in the weight-bearing bones of your legs and feet.

What causes a stress fracture?
You could consider a stress fracture as an overuse injury because it can be caused by repetitive application of force.

What are the symptoms of stress fractures?
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:
  • Pain that develops gradually, increases with weight-bearing activity, and diminishes with rest.
  • Pain that becomes more severe and occurs during normal, daily activities.
  • Swelling at the site of the fracture.
  • Tenderness to the touch at the site of the fracture.
  • Possible bruising
When should I contact my doctor?
Contact your doctor if your pain becomes severe or persists even at rest.

How to recover from a stress fracture?
Rest is very important in the recovery from a stress fracture.  Your doctor will help you determine when your stress fracture has healed and the best way to go about your gradual return to normal activities.

How do I prevent a stress fracture?
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offer helpful guidelines:
  • Maintain a healthful diet. Eat calcium and vitamin D rich foods to help build bone strength.
  • Use proper sports equipment.  Do not wear old or worn running shoes.
  • Alternate your activites. For example, you can alternate jogging with swimming or cycling.
  • Start any new sports activity slowly. Gradually increase your time, speed and distance. 
  • Strength training can help prevent early muscle fatigue and prevent the loss of bone density that comes with aging. 
  • If pain or swelling returns, stop the activity. Rest for a few days. If the pain continues, see your doctor.

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