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Sports Injuries

11 December 2007

Stress fracture of the lower leg

Often stress fractures result from overuse or repeated impacts on a hard surface. Increasing the amount or intensity of an activity too fast is a common cause of a stress fracture.

What is a stress fracture?
A stress fracture is an overuse injury. It occurs when muscles become fatigued and are unable to absorb shock and repeated impacts. Over time, the fatigued muscle transfers this stress to the bone, resulting in a small crack or fracture.

Causes
Stress fractures are often the result of overuse or repeated impacts on a hard surface. Increasing the amount or intensity of an activity too rapidly is a common cause of a stress fracture, as is using improper equipment.

Symptoms

  • Pain with any activity that affects the area of the stress fracture
  • Fractured area tender to the touch.

What you can do
  • Rest for six to eight weeks to allow the fracture to heal
  • See a sports injury specialist or doctor

 

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Ask the Expert

Sports Injuries Expert

Adrian Rotunno is a medical doctor in the Sports & Exercise Medicine fellowship at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, and qualified physiotherapist. Team physician for Dimension Data pro-cycling, and Boland Rugby. Special interests include endurance sport, in particular cycling, as well as contact sports.

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