Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Kiran Iqbal, MBBS. B.Sc
A stress fracture is also known as a hairline fracture. It is a small crack in a bone. This is a common injury for athletes or anyone who does a lot of running and jumping. Stress fractures are also very common for people who have osteoporosis.
Hairline fractures are often common in the foot and leg and are often caused by stress from running and jumping. This causes microscopic damage, and if the body is not given enough time to heal, it turns into a hairline fracture.
Stress fractures are common in people who have Osteoporosis because the disease causes bones to weaken. Also, some medications prescribed to Osteoporosis patients cause bones to become brittle, which leads to fractures.
I know this personally because a few years ago I developed stress fractures in my femurs caused by the Osteoporosis medication I was taking.
These stress fractures can be quite painful and should be treated so they don’t result in a complete fracture. My stress fractures resulted in complete fractures across both femurs. It took years, two surgeries, and physical therapy to recover.
Symptoms of a Stress Fracture
Hairline fractures may begin with very little pain, but the pain tends to worsen with time. Slight pain and swelling might be noticeable toward the end of the day, but may decrease or go away after a night’s rest.
If a stress fracture does not heal, you will feel deep aching pain and will need to go to the doctor.
Stress Fracture Treatments
Your doctor should have some good instructions on how to treat your hairline fractures. Common treatments include:
- reduced weight-bearing activities
- pain medications
Additional Treatment for Stress Fractures – PEMF Therapy
In addition to the treatment for stress fractures that your doctor prescribes, I recommend adding PEMF therapy daily. A PEMF mat is very similar to a heating pad and can be placed near the bone with the stress fracture.
Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation, but typically it should be used at least twenty minutes per day. PEMF will:
- reduce pain
- decrease inflammation
- improve blood circulation
- work at the cellular level to stimulate bone cells multiplication
- dramatically increase the speed and completeness of bone healing
I hope you have enjoyed this article on treatment for stress fractures and have learned something you can apply to your life. I certainly don’t want you to have stress fractures that go undiagnosed and untreated. It was a very painful lesson for me.
If you would like to look at PEMF Mats
Here is a complete list
If you would like to learn more about how PEMF therapy works, here is a really good technical explanation. http://web.orthofix.com/Products/Products/Physio-Stim/PS-1413%20PEMF%20Brochure.pdf
The Use of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields to Promote Bone Responses to Biomaterials In Vitro and In Vivo
Carlo Galli, Giuseppe Pedrazzi, Monica Mattioli-Belmonte, and Stefano Guizzardi
“PEMFs have been repeatedly shown to possess the potential to affect osteoblast behavior on different biomaterials and thus represent a potential tool to improve the clinical outcome of several regenerative and prosthetic therapies in orthopedics and dentistry and should be more thoroughly investigated by proper clinical trials.”