10 reasons for sport related stress fractures


Stress fractures are one of the most common sports injuries.  Stress is defined as a constraining force or influence,

which can be placed on the body, the mind, or an object. In this case, we’re focusing on stress placed on the body. A stress fracture is an overuse injury that occurs when muscles become fatigued and are unable to absorb shock and protect the bones as they usually do. When stress is placed on fatigued muscles, eventually the overload of stress is transferred to the bone, causing a tiny crack or stress fracture. Stress fractures most commonly occur in the weight bearing bones of the lower leg and foot.


Athletes who participate in repetitive, high impact sports are usually most susceptible to stress fractures, such as tennis, running, gymnastics, basketball, or dance. Even folks who are not athletes can experience stress fractures due to a change or sudden increase in activity, like walking excessively on vacation or wearing a new style of shoe. Here are the main ten reasons for sport related stress fractures.

#1 Practicing incorrect training or sport technique.

#2 Having too rapid of a training program or volume of activity or changing your activity level without a gradual break-in period.

#3 Changing the surface you exercise on, such as going from a soft surface (like an indoor track) to outside on gravel or concrete.


#4 Running on a track or road with sloped surface.

#5 Using poor equipment or improper footwear (shoes that are too worn out, too flimsy or too stiff).

#6 Doing repetitive activity in certain high-impact sports, such as long-distance running (tibia, hip),Basketball, Tennis, Track and field, Gymnastics (wrist stress fractures from weight bearing on hands/wrists, low back), Dance (feet, low back).

#7 Foot problems can affect the way the foot strikes the ground. These foot problems can include bunions, blisters, tendonitis, and low or high arches. Muscle weakness, imbalances or lack of flexibility can also be a factor.

#8 Experiencing early specialization in sports. Youth who play one sport year-round without a break are at risk of stress fractures.

#9 Medical conditions such as osteoporosis or other diseases that weaken bone strength and density (thickness). The weak or soft bones may not be able to handle the changes in activity.

#10 Having a poor diet that has inadequate caloric intake for volume of sport as well as having a low vitamin D level.

Symptoms of stress fractures are Dull, achy pain – usually brought on by activity and subsides with rest, swelling and tenderness and possible bruising. The small bone crakes may not be visible on early x-rays.

How is a stress fracture treated?

Stress fractures are treated in several ways. Your doctor will discuss your options based on the location and severity of your fracture. Suggested treatments may include stopping the activity that is causing pain as it’s important to avoid the activity that led to the fracture. Applying an ice pack (10 minutes) or ice massage (ice cube rub for three to five minutes) to the injured area. Resting for roughly two to eight weeks. Cross training by doing non-impact exercise (like a using a pool or bike) after discussion with your doctor may be allowed. Eventually, once you can perform low-impact activities for extended periods without pain, you can start doing high-impact exercises. Often, physical therapy can be very helpful in returning to activities and making adjustments to avoid re-injury. Adjusting your position if there is swelling in your leg, ankle or foot. You can lessen the swelling by elevating your leg — raising your foot above the level of your heart — while you’re lying on your back. Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines to help relieve pain and swelling. As well as you may wear supportive cast for your ankle or wrist according to the severity of your condition.







Take away tip

  • Start new activities slowly – gradually increase your time, speed, and distance.
  • Maintain a balanced and healthy diet, incorporating calcium and Vitamin D to help build bone strength.
  • Use proper equipment and replace old or worn equipment when necessary.
  • If pain or swelling occurs, stop your activity and rest for a few days. If pain persists, make an appointment with your doctor.

Q&A: what’s the meaning of stress fracture?

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