From the tallest skyscrapers to the smallest shacks, for any structure to stand upright, it needs a sturdy skeleton. We, too, rely on an intricate system of bones to hold us up, protect our organs, and give us our shape.
Instead of frames fortified with steel, our bones are made of connective tissues reinforced with calcium and specialized bone cells.
But unlike the buildings we live and work in, our bodies have the ability to gradually adapt to increased stress on our bones. This occurs through a process called remodeling, in which our bone tissue is destroyed and then rebuilt as it becomes accustomed to new or increased activity.
If we subject our bones to too much force too fast, they can’t properly cycle through the remodeling process, and tiny cracks called stress fractures begin to form.
Deeping, aching pain is often the first indicator of a stress fracture, but here, our team of experts at The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre walks you through five other symptoms that are unique to stress fractures.
#1: Intensified pain with activity
Because stress fractures are born from stress and force, you typically experience pain with even the most routine movements and activities. Stress fracture pain also tends to intensify at night.
#2: Relief with rest
Conversely, stress fracture pain usually subsides when you rest and reduce the amount of force on the affected area.
#3: Unresponsive pain
Your first instinct may be to employ the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method when your symptoms set in. And you’d be right. However, stress fractures don’t always improve even if you’re proactive.
#4: Swelling and tenderness
As your body responds and attempts to address the fracture, you may notice some swelling at the site of the fracture. That swelling may also cause the fracture site to be tender when you touch it.
#5: Loss of performance or function
A stress fracture and the accompanying symptoms can impact your ability to use the affected limb.
What you can do about a stress fracture
Fortunately, stress fractures often heal on their own with proper rest and rehabilitation. That’s why early detection is so important.
Depending on your needs, we may recommend splinting a fracture to keep it stable and allow it to heal properly; very rarely does a stress fracture require surgical intervention.
We also educate you on some simple ways to avoid future stress fractures and care for your bone health. They include:
- Slowly making changes to your activity levels
- Using proper footwear
- Adding low-impact activities into your exercise regimen
- Avoiding repetitive stress on a particular part of your body
- Getting adequate nutrition to support your bones
If you’d like more information, or if you suspect your symptoms point to a stress fracture, don’t wait to request an appointment — use our online booking tool or call our office in The Woodlands, Texas, today.