Stress fractures are small fractures caused by repetitive stress, rather than the trauma associated with most fractures. These little fractures can be found in any part of the body but are most commonly found in the weight-bearing bones, including the shins and feet.
Stress fractures are most commonly caused over repetitive movement and training errors, including a drastic increase in load (frequency + duration + intensity) and relative under recovery. Runners, basketball players, dancers, and gymnasts are most susceptible to stress fractures.
– Muscle weakness.
– “Too much, too fast”.
– Flat feet/high arches.
– Stiffness of the surrounding joints and soft tissues.
– Drastic increase in activity.
– History of previous injury.
– Improper footwear.
– Poor nutrition.
– Low BMI.
– Pain along the bone.
– Pain with weight bearing
At Home Diagnostic Tests
– Palpation over the affected area.
– Tap Test: tap over the affected area. If this produces pain, you may want to seek further assessment by a healthcare provider.
At Home Care
– Cessation of irritating activity.
– NSAID usage as needed.
When to Seek Help
If your symptoms last longer than a week or they prevent you from participating in your normal activities, see your physical therapist. If symptoms drastically worsen and you are unable to bear weight, your stress fracture may have developed into a full fracture and you should seek medical imaging.
Inspired Athletx Treatment
Treatment at Inspired Athletx can begin immediately after diagnosis of a stress fracture, even if you’re in a boot!* Regardless of boot status, treatment will focus on addressing joint and soft tissue stiffness, neuromuscular control of the affected limb, movement patterns, and strength of the supporting musculature throughout the lower leg. Your physical therapist will recommend altering your training patterns or footwear if they contributed to your injury. Your PT may refer you to a dietitian or your primary care provider if nutrition or body composition appear to be a contributing factor.