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Stress Fractures

A stress fracture is an overuse injury that occurs when muscles around a bony structure become fatigued and are unable to absorb the added shock. This will cause transfer of overload stress to the associated bone leading to a tiny crack called a stress fracture.

Common location of stress fractures
  • Weight bearing bones of the lower leg and the foot

Causes a stress fracture

Stress fractures often occur due to any of the following reasons:

  • Rapid increase in the amount or intensity of an activity
  • Trauma caused by the repetitive stress of the foot striking ground
  • Impact of an unfamiliar surface (change of soft to hard surface or vice versa)
  • Improper equipment (like worn or less flexible shoes)
  • Increased physical stress

Risk activities that make athletes most susceptible to stress fractures

Sportspersons involved in the following activities are at higher risk of developing stress fractures:

  • Tennis
  • Trackers
  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Gymnastics
  • Basketball
  • Bowling a ball in cricket
  • Rowing

All the sportsperson (especially females) are therefore advised to take sufficient rest between workouts or competitions to avoid any kind of stress fracture.

Symptoms of a stress fracture

The most common symptom of a stress fracture is pain with activity that subsides with rest. In some cases, there can be swelling or tenderness over the site.

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