A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone. They often develop from overuse, such as from high-impact sports like distance running or basketball. When muscles are overtired (fatigued), they are no longer able to absorb the shock of repeated impacts. When this happens, the muscles transfer the stress to the bones, creating a small crack or fracture.
Most stress fractures occur in the weight-bearing bones of the foot and lower leg. The most common sites are the second and third metatarsals of the foot. Stress fractures are also common in the heel (calcaneus), the outer bone of the lower leg (fibula), and the navicular, a bone on the top of the midfoot. The following are the most common causes of stress fractures:
Mistakes In TechniqueErrors in training or technique are another cause of stress fractures. Anything that alters the mechanics of how the foot absorbs impact when it strikes the ground may increase your risk for a stress fracture. For example, a blister, bunion, or tendonitis can affect how you put your weight on your foot, and may require a bony area to handle more load than usual.
Doing too much too soon is a common cause of stress fractures. For example, runners who are confined indoors for the winter may want to pick up where they left off at the end of the previous season. Instead of starting slowly, they try to match their previous mileage. Because of the lower level of conditioning, muscles become fatigued faster. The result could be a stress fracture in the foot or ankle.
Who Is At Risk?
Athletes who participate in high-impact sports, such as running, basketball, or tennis Dancers (ballet and other) are susceptible to stress fractures because of the repetitive impact of dancing Women, particularly female athletes, with abnormal or absent menstrual cycles (This can result in decreasing bone mass.) Exercisers who have made a sudden change in their weight-bearing training. This can include runners who are increasing their mileage faster than their bodies can handle.
The following advice may protect you from developing stress fractures in the first place:
-Progress slowly in any sport. Gradually increase time, and intensity, running mileage or effort and follow the ten percent rule.
-Use the proper foot wear and replace shoes when needed.
-Train your body. Stretching and regular physical therapy help to eliminate the leading causes of common injuries.
If you feel like you may be developing a stress fracture, please contact us or your healthcare professional to avoid further injury.