What is the stress fracture?
by Victor Puig Ramos
Often unknown to the general public, the stress fracture is a fairly common pathology among athletes. Victor Puig, physiotherapist at Uperform Balanced Sports Clinic, enlightens you on this subject.
1) What is a stress fracture?
Stress fracture or fatigue fracture is an incomplete fracture (bone crack) caused by unusual overuse. This type of fracture is often found in running and among young recruits in the military.
2) What are the symptoms and how did I catch this?
A stress fracture is characterized by sharp, localized pain during weight bearing.
The most common locations are the tibia, the fibula, the base of the 5th metatarsus, the base of the 2nd metatarsus, the navicular and the sesamoid.
This type of fracture is caused by unusual repeated trauma (stress). It is therefore likely that a too rapid increase in volume, intensity or frequency of your activity/training is the cause of this fracture.
A shoe that is too worn or unsuitable can also be a risk factor for developing this pathology.
3) Is surgery to be considered?
Conservative treatment is the treatment of choice for this pathology. Surgery is rare in stress fractures.
4) How to treat this and how is the rehabilitation going?
The treatment will begin with a period of relative rest to reduce stress on the injured area. It will therefore be necessary to avoid causing pain for a period ranging from 1 to 4 weeks (the period of complete rest can be quite short if the symptoms disappear quickly).
Fitting an offloading orthosis/foot orthosis can relieve pain and improve bone healing.
After that, we will guide you to resume less restrictive activities such as cycling or swimming. This will strain the muscles around the injured area without putting too much strain on the structure. In addition, we will mobilize the different structures in order to restore the mobility of the different joints that may be affected during the injury.
Little by little, the activity will be resumed by quantifying the load. To this end, a gradual program for the resumption of activity will be put in place.
5) Can I continue my physical activity?
During a stress fracture, it is always preferable to achieve a short period of complete rest (see complete discharge if necessary). Very quickly, you will be able to resume swimming and aqua-jogging and progress to cycling. We will also offer you many strengthening exercises that you can do during this period.