At Shoreline Orthopaedics, our orthopaedic surgeons use a truly collaborative approach so our patients have the benefit of multiple expert opinions, without having to go elsewhere to obtain them.
Shoreline Orthopaedics provides more comprehensive services, state-of-the-art options, technologies and techniques than anyone else in the area.
The following information is provided to help you understand what you can expect from us regarding policies and procedures, and also what is expected of you before and after treatment or procedures.
The following information is provided to help you gain a better understanding of anatomy, terminology, certain orthopaedic procedures, and more. If you have any questions, feel free to ask your physician.
Stress fractures are common sports injuries that occur due to overuse. As muscles become increasingly fatigued and less able to absorb the added shock of a sports activity, the overload of stress is eventually transferred to the bone, resulting in a tiny crack called a stress fracture. More than half of all stress fractures occur in the lower leg, usually in the weight bearing bones and foot. Overcoming a stress fracture can be difficult, but it can be done.
Stress fractures are often the result of abrupt or extreme changes in participation levels, but they can also occur due to problems with equipment and clothing. Common causes include:
Stress fractures can affect anyone who is active in repetitive sports, at any age. Studies indicate that athletes participating in sports such as tennis, track and field, gymnastics and basketball are especially susceptible to this injury. During these activities, the repetitive stress of the foot striking the ground can cause trauma. It is important to include sufficient rest between workouts or competitions to lessen the risk of developing a stress fracture.
According to studies, female athletes seem to experience stress fractures more often than their male counterparts. Many orthopaedic surgeons attribute this increased risk to "female athlete triad," a condition that consists of: bulimia or anorexia (eating disorders), amenorrhea or oligomenorrhoea (absence or infrequency of menstruation), and osteoporosis (loss of bone mass or density).
Pain that occurs during activity and then subsides with rest is the most commonly experienced symptom of a stress fracture.
During the medical examination, your physician will evaluate your risk factors for this injury. Although X-rays are commonly used to diagnose stress fractures, in some cases they cannot be seen on regular X-rays, or they may not be visible on them until several weeks after symptoms appear. In some instances, additional imaging such as a CT scan (computed topography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
Rest is the most important treatment for a stress fracture, however, your physician may also recommend the use of special shoe inserts or braces during recovery. Typically, it takes 6 to 8 weeks for a stress fracture to heal. During that time, it is crucial to completely discontinue participation in the sport that caused the injury, as well as any other activities that place stress on the injury or cause it to become more painful. If activity is resumed too quickly, larger, harder-to-heal stress fractures may develop. Reinjury can lead to chronic problems that prevent the injury from ever healing properly.
A relatively recent treatment option, PRP therapy, is currently being studied by researchers and is considered by some to hold promise for certain injuries. Contact your orthopaedic surgeon to find out if PRP would be appropriate for you.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has developed some tips to help you prevent stress fractures.
View our Instructional Animations to learn more.
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