Should you stress over stress fractures?
The answer: Yes, you should be concerned about a stress fracture regardless of its location, such as the feet or lower legs. Not only are stress fractures some of the most common injuries among athletes but they are also difficult to treat; although it must be said that it can be done with appropriate medical attention.
Basically, a stress fracture happens when the muscles become overused and fatigued. As a result, the muscles cannot absorb the added shock that sports activities demand resulting in the fatigued muscles transferring the stress overload to the bone.
The result: Tiny cracks on the bone known as stress fractures.
Other reasons that stress fractures occur are:
- Impact on an unfamiliar surface that the feet come in contact with, such as in the case of tennis players switching from a soft clay court to a hard concrete court.
- Use of inappropriate equipment, such as a runner wearing non-running shoes.
- Increase in physical stress, such as a runner who switches from sprinting to marathon competitions without training.
Since the lower legs and feet bear most of the body’s weight, they are the most likely to sustain stress fractures. Studies have shown that more than 50% of stress fractures happen on the lower leg with athletes engaged in tennis, gymnastics, track and field, and basketball at high risk of injury.
This is because the repetitive stress of the athlete’s feet hitting the ground, often with great impact and at high speed, can eventually cause trauma. Sufficient rest between practice sessions and competitions should then be adopted to lessen the risks for stress fractures.
The first sign of stress fractures is pain with activity, which will subside with rest. Just to be on the safe side, you should see a doctor for proper diagnosis involving taking your medical history and undergoing imaging tests, such as X-rays or CT scans.
Fortunately, stress fractures can be treated. Your doctor will recommend resting the affected limb by engaging in pain-free activities for 6-8 weeks to allow the stress fracture to heal. You may also be required to wear braces or shoe inserts to facilitate healing.
For more information about the treatment and prevention of stress fractures, you should consult with our Healthpointe doctors. Visit our Irwindale clinic, which is located near the areas of Duarte, Azusa, West Covina, Vincent, and Mayflower Village.
Healthpointe is a leading multidisciplinary healthcare organization offering a full range of medical services in practice locations throughout Southern California (Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County). Healthpointe has locations situated in over 10 cities in Southern California including Irwindale, which is conveniently located near Duarte, Azusa, West Covina, Vincent, and Mayflower Village. As a highly regarded musculoskeletal group, we have a personal investment in the highest level of service, and we are proud of our record of excellence over the last four decades with private patients, injured workers, urgent care, personal injuries, and professional and non-professional athletes. Leading our organization is a dynamic team of healthcare professionals who continually strive to be at the forefront of medical innovation and healthcare service delivery. For more information, a complete list of services, and Healthpointe locations, visit www.Healthpointe.net