A fatigue fracture, or stress fracture, is an injury caused by the overuse of a bone. This type of injury therefore occurs most of the time during overuse. They are most common in the lower limbs, particularly in the tibia and foot, but can also be seen in the heel, hip, or lumbar region.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?
Several things can cause a stress fracture. These often result from increasing the volume or intensity of physical activity too much. Some of the main risk factors include:
- Rapidly starting or modifying a workout, creating excessive stress on the bone due to repetitive strain injuries
- The normal use of a bone weakened by a disease such as osteoporosis
- Certain sports with high impacts and/or repeated shocks
- Gender: Women are more likely to develop this type of fracture
- Unsuitable training equipment (wear, etc.)
- History of stress fractures
- Deficiencies in nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium, which can weaken bones
2. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Symptoms may vary. However, two signs appear frequently:
- Pain, especially when pressure is applied to the area and relieved at rest
- Variable swelling of the affected area
3. HOW TO DIAGNOSE IT?
In case of similar symptoms, go to your doctor. Via an interrogation and a clinical examination, this one will be able to confirm the diagnosis.
Most of the time, imaging may be requested to try to confirm the diagnosis. MRI and bone scintigraphy are preferred.
4. IS IT SERIOUS?
The level of severity of this type of lesion can vary.
If your child experiences symptoms similar to those mentioned above, it will be important to consult a doctor quickly to determine the extent of the lesion and the resulting therapeutic choice, otherwise the problem will worsen. Poor management during the first symptoms will lead to risks of aggravation and an increase in healing times.
5. HOW DOES THE REHABILITATION TAKE PLACE?
In order to reduce the load-bearing capacity of the bone until healing and consolidation, a plantar orthosis or the use of crutches is suggested, for a period of approximately 8 weeks.
When the doctor gives the green light, you can then gradually resume your activities by putting the limb back in charge.
At the same time, the physiotherapy treatment will then focus on:
- Recovery of normal joint amplitudes
- Gradual rehabilitation of the joint
- Overall muscle strengthening (strength, neuromuscular control, stability, etc.)
- Re-athletics and getting back into sport (with technical work if necessary)
6. IS SURGERY AN OPTION
Although rare, surgery is sometimes considered for this type of pathology. It will only be considered in the event of failure of the initial treatment.
7. CAN I CONTINUE TRAINING?
The diagnosis of a stress fracture needs to be taken seriously from the start in order to avoid complications. Sports rest is necessary in the initial phase. Then, it is the importance of the symptoms and the medical imaging that will determine the duration of the stop.
The best option should be discussed with your doctor.
8. WHAT CAN I DO TO SPEED UP THE PROCESS?
In order to speed up the healing process, be sure to follow the recommendations of the health
professionals with whom you work. Laziness or, on the contrary, overzealousness, will be your enemies. Conversely, discipline, rigour, perseverance as well as a positive and voluntary state of mind will help you get back in top shape as soon as possible!
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