One of the most common injuries in sports is a stress fracture. A stress fracture is an overuse injury. It occurs when muscles become fatigued and are unable to absorb added shock. Eventually, the fatigued muscle transfers the overload of stress to the bone causing a tiny crack called a stress fracture. Stress fractures often are the result of increasing the amount or intensity of an activity too rapidly. They also can be caused by the impact of an unfamiliar surface (a tennis player who has switched surfaces from a soft clay court to a hard court); improper equipment (a runner using worn or less flexible shoes); and increased physical stress (a basketball player who has had a substantial increase in playing time).
Most stress fractures occur in the weightbearing bones of the lower leg and the foot. More than 50 percent of all stress fractures occur in the lower leg.
The most important treatment is rest. Individuals need to rest from the activity that caused the stress fracture, and engage in a pain-free activity during the six to eight weeks it takes most stress fractures to heal.
If the activity that caused the stress fracture is resumed too quickly, larger, harder-to-heal stress fractures can develop. Re-injury also could lead to chronic problems where the stress fracture might never heal properly.
Here are some tips developed by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons to help prevent stress fractures:
- When participating in any new sports activity, set incremental goals. For example, do not immediately set out to run five miles a day; instead, gradually build up your mileage on a weekly basis.
- Cross-training — alternating activities that accomplish the same fitness goals — can help to prevent injuries like stress fractures. Instead of running every day to meet cardiovascular goals, run on even days and bike on odd days. Add some strength training and flexibility exercises to the mix for the most benefit.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Make sure you incorporate calcium- and Vitamin D-rich foods in your meals.
- Use the proper equipment. Do not wear old or worn running shoes.
- If pain or swelling occurs, immediately stop the activity and rest for a couple days. If continued pain persists, see your chiropractor.
- It is important to remember that if you recognize the symptoms early and treat them appropriately, you can return to sports at your normal playing level.
For more information on this injury please contact Mississauga Chiropractor, Dr. Nekessa Remy at The Chiropractic Office, 905-820-7746 or email@example.com