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Signs of a Stress Fracture

Article by: Carrie DeVries


Many sports injuries are sudden and distinctive, but what about when an injury starts slowly and faintly, with symptoms like a deep-seated dull ache? This is one characteristic of a stress fracture.


A stress fracture starts with a small hairline fissure in the bone, which bring on non-distinct pain slowly. Stress fractures often occur in the lower limbs and feet, which is why athletes who put repetitive stress on their legs and feet are most vulnerable, such as runners, dancers, soccer players and basketball players.


It’s important to know the signs of a stress fracture. If they’re left undetected and untreated, they can get worse and even sideline an athlete.

It is important to watch out for these symptoms of a stress fracture:

  • Deep aching pain within a limb or joint

  • Dull pain that occurs with activity, and then disappears with rest

  • Pain that doesn’t improve despite resting or RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) treatment measures

  • Weakness in the affected area

  • Aching pain that gets worse and begins to occur not just during activity

  • Pain that gets worse in the evening

  • Pain starts a week after an increase in training


Stress fractures are rarely treated with surgery, however the treatment process often involves weeks or months of rest, bracing, and physiotherapy.


Athletes who follow their treatment protocol and take the steps to correct their training error have a good chance of a full recovery.


If you would like treatment for any sports injuries, call us at 9793 3119.

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