Stress Fracture FAQs

What is a bone stimulator used for?

A bone stimulator is used for promoting healing or union of the bone with or without surgical intervention. This is specifically used in patients who have low healing potentials usually due to systemic problems which lead to decrease blood supply to the fracture area.

Which stress fractures are potentially serious?

Stress fractures which are at high risk of displacement are potentially serious. These involve stress fracture of the neck of the humerus, neck of the femur, stress fracture in tibia, if untreated and becomes complete may also require surgical intervention. Stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal base called Jones fracture also may require surgical treatment if it is displaced.

If x-rays often do not show stress fractures, so why should I get x-rays?

X-rays are the primary modality to screen for fractures. They are done to rule out frank fracture or break in the bone as well as any other pathology in the bone. If they are normal, then further radiological investigation in the form of MRI or CT can be done to confirm or rule out a stress fracture.

What is an insufficiency fracture?

Insufficiency fracture also known as a stress fracture is caused by repetitive microtrauma to a specific part of the bone. The patients with decreased vitamin D or calcium in the body are at higher predisposition for such fractures.

Is Jones fracture a stress fracture?

Jones fracture is a stress fracture usually caused in athletes due to repetitive microtrauma in the base of the fifth metatarsal.

Why does it take so long for a Jones fracture to heal?

A Jones fracture is present in area with decreased blood supply and therefore good opposition as well as rest is required for healing. If the bones at the Jones fracture site are not opposed well, then the patient may require surgical intervention to compress the bones together and allow early healing.

What is metatarsal stress fracture?

Metatarsal stress fracture means stress fracture of the rays of the toes. These are usually present in the patients who have repetitive stress on these bones like in runners.

How do you detect a stress fracture?

Stress fractures are usually diagnosed with radiological imaging like x-rays. Occasionally if the suspicion is high and the x-rays are normal, then an MRI may be helpful in the diagnosis of stress fracture.

Do stress fractures hurt to touch?

Stress fractures and any other fractures are tender and hurt to touch at the area of the fracture. It may also be associated with redness, swelling and weakness.

What likely causes a stress fracture?

Stress fractures are caused due to microtrauma with repetitive activities. The general systemic disorders like hypovitaminosis D may be contributory to the stress fracture.

Can you walk with the stress fracture in the foot?

The patients are usually able to walk with stress fracture in the foot. These patients usually develop this fracture over a period and initially may have soreness which worsens over time and with activity.

How do stress fractures feel?

Stress fractures as opposed to complete fracture do not present with sudden onset of deformity or pain. They usually present with soreness, with worsening pain especially after activities. They may be associated with swelling. The patients with stress fractures usually have point tenderness at a specific spot where the fracture lies.

Do stress fractures heal on their own?

Most of the stress fractures are usually treated conservatively with rest, bracing along with anti-inflammatory medications and calcium and vitamin D. These fractures usually heal well over a span of 8 to 12 weeks and lead to complete resolution of symptoms. The patients are also asked to avoid activities that worsen the pain or may risk their stress fractures to become a complete fracture.