Stress fractures are caused by minute breaks in the bone. This is a common sports injury that happens from activities like running that cause repetitive stress. As painful as they can be, stress fractures usually do heal on their own when rested.
Who is at risk for stress fractures?
Mainly associated with sports, stress fractures are most likely in people who are involved in running and jumping as this can result in fractures in the legs and feet. A majority of fractures happen in the lower leg bones, especially the long bone of the lower leg, the tibia. Next are the fractures in the bones of the instep.
Other sports activities that involve repetitive movements like pitching or rowing also cause stress fractures elsewhere in the body.
Those who have just taken up a new exercise or increased the intensity of their workouts are the ones that are at maximum risk for stress fractures. This happens because the muscles, which are in the process of being conditioned get tired easily and cannot support or cushion the bones as they should. As a result, there’s pressure on the bones, leading to fractures.
Women, in particular those whose menstrual cycles are irregular, appear to be more prone to stress fractures. This is likely because of osteoporosis where the bones are weak and in teenagers, whose bones are still growing and developing.
Besides the above reasons, other factors that increase the risk for stress fractures are abnormalities in the bone structure because of which the stress is not distributed evenly through the feet and legs.
Wearing ill-fitting or worn out shoes also contributes to stress fractures.
While stress fractures can be prevented to an extent, there’s no guarantee they will not recur. Someone who has suffered from a stress fracture is very likely to have another.
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