Stress Fractures

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Track and Field Athlete for Stress Fracture

Stress fractures are commonly seen in sports medicine all year long especially with sports such as track-and-field, cross-country running, soccer, and basketball.

A stress fracture is a type of break in the bone that occurs over time. With activity, especially impact such as running or jumping, the bones are placed under repetitive stress. This stress leads to bone remodeling whereby damaged bone is repaired and replaced with healthy bone. If the bone repair process cannot keep up with the damage, then stress fractures develop.Symptoms


The symptoms of a stress fracture can be as vague as a dull pain that only occurs with use to constant pain.  It is easy to ignore the pain in the beginning and dismiss it for muscle or tendon pain. A good example are “shin splints” since the pain can be very similar to pain from a stress fracture.


Treatment for a stress fracture will usually involve a period of rest. It is important to treat stress fractures to avoid worsening and becoming a complete fracture which requires a lengthy recovery period, especially if surgery becomes necessary.

Because the symptoms of a stress fracture can be mimicked by other less severe injuries, it is best to be by a sports medicine physician for any persistent or lingering discomfort even if it is not impacting activity. Starting treatment early can lead to a faster recovery. Vitamin D deficiency is a possible risk factor for developing stress fractures and the level may be checked by your doctor.