What Is a Stress Fracture?
A stress fracture is a tiny, hairline crack in a bone. Unlike an acute fracture, which occurs suddenly with trauma, such as a fall or direct blow, a stress fracture develops slowly due to repetitive force. This can result from overuse, such as jumping repeatedly or running long distances, or even from daily use if a bone has become weakened due to osteoporosis.
While anyone can experience a stress fracture, this injury is particularly common among athletes who participate in sports that exert pressure on weight-bearing bones. Some examples include basketball, soccer, track and dancing, which continually stress the bones in the lower legs and feet. The risk of sustaining a stress fracture often increases with a change in training, such as playing on a different surface, wearing new shoes or working out longer or more frequently than usual.
How do you know if you have a stress fracture?
While an acute bone fracture usually causes sudden, intense pain, the signs of a stress fracture are more subtle. At first, the injury may be imperceptible. Then, as the crack grows larger, it may produce vague pain that gradually intensifies over time.
If left untreated, a stress fracture will continue to worsen, so it’s important to recognize the symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if they occur. Here are some signs to watch for:
- A deep ache in a leg, foot, arm or hand
- Dull pain that comes on suddenly during activity, then goes away with rest
- Arm or leg weakness
- Pain that progressively worsens despite rest
- Pain that intensifies at night
- Pain that develops after an increase in training
How is a stress fracture treated?
Most stress fractures can be treated without surgery. With that said, the treatment process can be demanding, often involving several weeks of physical therapy and bracing. To help ensure a fast and full recovery, as well as prevent future injuries, it is important to identify the reason the stress fracture developed in the first place, and then modify the activity or training program as necessary to avoid it.
At Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX, we offer a full range of stress fracture treatment options, including onsite physical therapy. Our board-certified and double-board-certified orthopedic specialists can evaluate your injury and recommend an individualized treatment plan to help you get back to your active lifestyle as quickly and safely as possible.
To request an appointment at any of our orthopedic clinics throughout the Houston, Texas, area, contact us today.
To request an appointment, please enter the information on the form on the right and press the “Continue” button to start the appointment request process.
1Professional Building II At North Cypress Medical Center
AOSM Physical Therapy
2North Cypress Professional Building At Lakewood Crossing
AOSM Physical Therapy
3North Cypress Professional Building At Towne Lake
4Advanced Orthopaedics Memorial
What Our Patients Are Saying
Dr. Patel is the most fantastic doctor my mother has seen in years. She has helped us in ways that we never expected. You have no idea what it is like to have your 87-year-old mother go from lots of pain to very little. I don’t know what we would’ve done without her.
Dr. Mack and his staff has been a blessing to me and my family. His patience and listening ear has greatly enhanced my quality of care and confidence in his abilities as a surgeon. I undoubtedly recommend him to anyone who is in pain and considering surgery as an option. I am sure your questions will be answered and your…
I flew in for my appointment in the middle of Covid. He was recommended as a top ortho by my employer’s medical concierge team. He is incredible… surgery a breeze on my knee… zero pain the next day. His team and office staff are top notch – on par with Mayo Clinic. We are fortunate to have doctors like him…
I can’t express my gratitude enough for the straight talk and guidance that Dr. Tessier has provided. He has been outstanding taking calls after hours and provided that next level of service that I didn’t think existed anymore. My knee surgery and recovery has been nothing but exceptional, and at all stages, Dr. Tessier has proved excellent communication and advice….
Dr. Patel was amazing. When I first went to her office I couldn’t even sit down because my back was hurting so bad. After my injections and physical therapy, I feel much better! I was starting to think I will never be back to normal and go back to my career as a welder, but you can and I did…
“This guy is a genius.” Those were the words of my wife after she first saw the scar from my cervical fusion surgery. It’s now 3 weeks after I left the hospital, and everything is looking good. I was impressed with Dr. Cubbage’s straightforwardness about the surgery itself. He explained the surgery to me in easy-to-understand terms, and his staff…
I have been going to Dr. Fehsenfeld for almost 10 years now and he has been nothing but amazing. He always gives his patients the time they need and sits down and talks with them about their injury and different recovery options. He has done both of my knee surgeries and I have had no issues with them and quick…
Dr. Mack and all the staff are professional and courteous. Dr. Mack came highly recommended, and I was very satisfied with his diagnosis and subsequent treatment. I would recommend him without reservation.
Dr. Mills was very pleasant, he spoke plainly to me, let me know my treatment options and what he recommended for me but he ultimately left the choice up to me without pushing any of them onto me, nor did he rush my decision. I am very impressed with the response time of everyone who helped me during my visit,…
My 84 year old mom fell and broke her right hip. Dr. Tanous was referred to me by her primary doctor. The appointment staff of AOSM gave me a next day appointment, with website info that enabled me to fill out much of necessary paperwork. The office staff was prompt and we saw Dr. Tanous at the given appointment time….