The saying ‘stress is a killer’ is very famous but it tells about mental stress. However, even in literal meaning, the saying is true. Stress fractures can end a brilliant athlete’s career forever. Stress fractures can be called as overuse injury which is most seen in athletes. It is commonly seen in the foot bones of athletes and caused by unusual or repeated stress”. These kinds of injuries are also called ‘fatigue fractures’. Technically wrong and rapid training can cause you a stress fracture. Women keep their ‘ladies first’ status in these injuries too. They seem to be high risk of foot stress fractures than men. Eating disorders, poor nutrition, and amenorrhea makes women more vulnerable to stress fractures. Most times, stress fractures may appear like ‘hairline fractures’ but if you don’t take treatment at the right time, a re-injury can happen and that may end your sports career forever.
Symptoms And Causes Of Stress Fractures
Symptoms Of Stress Fractures
- Stress fractures usually don’t have a big list of symptoms though you may feel pain or tenderness in a generalized area.
- An affected athlete usually feels a severe pain when he/she begin the run and a moderate pain in the middle and even more severe pain at the end and after the run.
- There can be pain in the affected area in the night. It is a common complaint that affected people use to make.
- Diffused swelling could be seen at the affected area.
Causes Of Stress Fractures
- Obesity can be a catalyst in leading one to this condition.
- Foot deformity such as hammertoe or bunion.
- Abnormal foot structure.
- Osteoporosis - This is a condition characterized by a decrease in the density of bone, which results fragile bones.
- Increased levels of activity, without proper conditioning can be another reason.
- Carrying out an improper, hard, and rapid training program develops stress fractures.
- Wearing worn or improper shoes can be a cause of this illness.
Diagnosis Of Stress Fractures
A good physician can identify this illness by close physical, historical examinations and verbal description of symptoms but x rays are not much helpful in finding diagnosing stress fractures. CT scan, MRI or a three-phase bone are effectively ways to diagnose this condition. It’s better to consult with a sport medicine trained physician for good treatment for stress factor. This will help the athlete or the affected person come back to form as soon as possible. Even though MRI scan and three phase bone scan are very expensive, they are the best way to find out whether you have stress fracture or not.
- Rest is the best and only way to get stress fracture cured. It takes six to eight weeks to heal properly. This fracture occurs mostly in weight bearing bones. So obviously the healing may be delayed. If you resume the strain full activity before the fracture get healed completely, more big and harder to heal fractures may develop. You have to be very careful about the re injury because re injury ultimately leads to chronic problems where stress fracture might never heal properly.
- Muscle strength training can help recovery because it disperses the excessive forces transmitted to the bones.
- Research studies recently proved that electromagnetic stimulation helps to heal bones naturally from stress fractures. Electronic bone stimulators are used in some cases to send electrical impulses into the bone to help healing. This type of electrical stimulation treatment seems to cause bone cells to proliferate. Stimulation causes bone cells to divide and that helps healing faster.
- Surgery is the best option for severe stress fractures but it takes a time of six months to heal properly because procedures like pinning fracture site and rehabilitation are involved.
Prevention of the stress fracture
- Don't go for rapid, hard, technically wrong exercises. An athlete can gradually develop his turnover rate and intensity. Being too much pushy on your body may get you negative results such as stress fractures.
- Following a healthy diet which Includes Vitamin D and calcium-rich foods will prevent such fractures.
- Choose Use good quality comfortable shoes for your foot. Buy inexpensive shoes and change them when they get a bit old and uncomfortable.
- When pain or swelling begins, stop the activity as soon as possible and take rest for a few days. If pain persists, consult your physician.