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The miniscule cracks in a bone are known as stress fractures. This type of fracture is caused by persistent application of force, mostly due to overuse. Activities like jumping or running up and down for long distances can also cause the condition. A normal bone weakened due to osteoporosis is another reason for stress fractures. Rigorous or excessive exercise can cause this condition as well.
These types of fractures are common in the lower leg and foot as these are the weight bearing bones. Field athletes and sportsperson are susceptible to stress fractures.
Some of the causes of this fracture are:
- Frequent application of a huge amount of force, greater than what the bones of a person's lower legs and feet can bear can cause this type of fracture. This force causes an imbalance between resorption and the growth of bone.
- If the bones are continually subjected to force without being given adequate time to recover, then the body tends to reabsorb bone cells faster than they can be replaced. These fatigued bones, when subjected to repetitive force, may cause tiny cracks which can turn into stress fractures.
Stress fractures usually occur in the metatarsal bones in the foot, heel bone, shin bone, thigh bone, and pubic rami of the pelvis among many other bones in the body.
Some of the symptoms of stress fractures may include:
- Swelling in the affected area
- The area may grow tender and the crack usually increases while the foot is at rest
X-rays are the common methods of diagnosis. If left untreated, these fractures can lead to chronic pain.
Related Tip: Bone Fractures - Causes and Symptoms