A stress fracture is caused by repeated micro-trauma. Typically, individuals with this condition complain of pain which builds during exercise and eases with rest (there may even be some pain at night).
It is a direct result of repeated high-impact exercise, along with certain predisposing biomechanical factors. The common bones affected by stress fractures are the tibia, fibula, metatarsals and navicular (one of the small foot bones). The site of the injury being dependent upon the type of sport.
Certain sports predispose to stress fractures of the pelvis and vertebrae. These commonly occur in those partaking in endurance sports, such as long-distance running, or sports which require repetitive actions such as cricket.
Diagnosis is confirmed with clinical evaluation and MRI scanning. It is also very likely blood tests will be needed to rule out other causes of stress fractures. Treatment includes rest and immobilisation for a period of time and then Physiotherapy to strengthen the lower limb and core, possible Orthotics assessment, possible medical therapies if abnormalities are detected on blood tests and a careful, graduated re-introduction to running program.