Stress fractures characterised by pain on activity. The pain usually subsides with rest. Although they will often not show up on an x-ray, x-rays may still be used to rule out other causes of bone tenderness.
Stress fractures occur when muscles become fatigued through overuse and are unable to absorb any more shock. The load then gets transferred to the bone and causes a tiny crack which is known as a stress fracture.
Stress fractures usually occur in the lower limb. The most common sites for stress fractures include the tibia (shin bone), metatarsals (foot), fibula (shin), femur (thigh bone) and pelvis. Common causes for stress fracture are increased training load or activity, a change in training surface, or improper equipment (such as worn out or less flexible shoes).
The bone will need an initial period of rest in order to heal effectively. Treatment will also include correcting any imbalances or weaknesses. This will allow the muscles to withstand a greater load and absorb more shock, resulting in less load being transferred to the bone. All strengthening exercises are done within a pain free range to avoid aggravating the condition.
Correcting imbalances and weakness is an essential component of rehabilitating after a stress fracture. Without the correct rehabilitation there is a high risk of the injury occurring again.