Stress Fractures - Hairline Fractures

A stress fractures (hairline fracture) is an overuse injury caused by unusual repeated stress. Typically affected bones are the shin bone and foot bones. Unlike to normal traumatic fractures, stress fractures don't appear suddenly. They occur from repeated traumas, none of which is sufficient to cause a sudden break. Find more info about sports injuries at injuries main.

Description: Stress Fractures

  • When a muscle become fatigued and therefore can't absorb all the shocks, the fatigued muscle transfers the overload the bone. Over time, this can cause a tiny crack => stress fracture or hairline fracture. This happens when the intensity of your activity overwhelm the bone's remodeling & recovery ability. If you are suddenly increasing your training volume and intensity in a sport like sprinting or hurdle running, a certain risk of a stress fractures is given. Usually stress fractures are not visible on an x-ray's, but cause pain. That's why CT scans, MRIs and 3-phase bone scans are usually more effective to diagnose stress fractures.

Who is susceptible: Stress Fractures

  • Sprinters and hurdle runners
  • Long jumpers and high jumpers
  • Martial artists & XMArtists
  • Everybody who works out in a cold environment
  • People who suddenly increase their training volume and are involved in sports that require a lot of explosive movements and direction changes.
  • People with a low bone density.

Diagnosis: Stress Fractures

  • Pain when weight is beared.
  • Tibia stress fractures (hairline fractures in the shin bone) can be confused with shin splints (inflammation of the front side of the shin bone). A CT scan a MRI or 3-phase bone scan will give more information.

Treatment: Stress Fractures

  • Rest
  • Consult a sports injury specialist.
  • Strengthen you muscles.
  • Increase your vitamin D and Calcium intake.
  • A cast may be applied in order to take off stress.
  • In extreme cases surgery may be needed for proper healing.

Advice: Stress Fractures

  • Strengthen your muscles.
  • Avoid sudden increases of training volume and intensity.
  • Don't work out in a cold environment.
  • Eat foods rich in Vitamin D and Calcium.
  • Do weight training with free weights - This strengthens your bones.
    (but not if you already have a stress fracture)

Videos: Stress Fractures

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