Stress Fractures – Beware of the Signs


Stress fractures are one of the most common injuries experienced by active individuals, but it’s easy to miss the warning signs as the associated symptoms tend to start off rather benign. Although these symptoms may at first appear trivial, they should not be ignored as left untreated they could potentially get worse and cause more damage in the long run.

What is a Stress Fracture?

As the name implies, stress fractures are tiny breaks within your bone structure. They typically start out as hairlinecracksaccompanied by mild pain, but then can progressively get worse over time if not managed appropriately.

Even though stress fractures can occur in any person at any time, they tend to be more common amongst highly active individuals.  Keen runners, football players, basketball players and dancers are particularly at risk due to frequent and repeated stress on their lower limbs and feet.

Other individuals who may be more prone to stress fractures are those that have, or are susceptible to having, osteoporosis or other bone density related issues. Stress fractures occur because the bone is unable to withstand the repeated strain, so adjustments will need to be made in order to prevent otherwise avoidable injury.

What to Look Out For

Signs of a stress fracture include the following:

  • Pain felt within limbs or joints, particularly during physical activity
  • Sporadic pain which subsides with rest
  • Ongoing pain
  • Difficulty performing exercise using the affected limb
  • Sudden occurrence of pain following a recent change in exercise

If you experience any of the above signs, you should discuss this with your GP and/or your physiotherapist at Brunswick Heads.

Treating Stress Fractures

The best way to treat stress fractures is by providing the best environment for the bone to heal. This will include a short period of rest, followed by a gradual return to your activity. Your physiotherapist will help coach you through this, while also providing relief from the pain.

Top Tips for Avoiding Stress Fractures

We’re all about prevention here at Brunswick Heads Physio. By following the following few helpful tips you can significantly reduce your risk of developing stress fractures:

  • Small Goals – we understand you may be eager to start a new sport or exercise program, but it’s important to take small steps. Set yourself goals and build up your strength gradually rather than diving in with gusto.
  • Change it up – routine is boring! Running is great for cardiovascular health, but it is also a high intensity form of exercise. Instead of running every day, why not change it up with a cycle or swim instead? This will reduce your risk of stress fractures whilst still improving cardiovascular health.
  • Eat Well – make sure that you are eating plenty of nutritious foods, particularly those high in calcium and vitamin D as these may help with bone density issues.
  • Wear Appropriate Footwear – poor choice in footwear may increase your risk of injury. If possible, you should have your sports shoes fitted by a professional.
  • Recognise the Symptoms – if, despite the above advice, you are still experiencing pain, don’t panic. Pair back your exercise and book an appointment at Brunswick Heads Physio as early treatment of stress fractures is key to achieving full recovery.

At Brunswick Heads Physio, we deal with stress fractures on a regular basis. We aim to provide our clients with the best possible chance of full recovery by tailoring treatment options on a case-by-case basis.

Brunswick Heads Physio – Your Partner in Recovery

We are passionate about helping our clients manage their injuries safely and efficiently so that you can get back to enjoying life. If you suspect you may have sustained a stress fracture, please schedule a consultation with us today to confirm the diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan.