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Stress Fractures

Clinical Overview

Stress fractures are bone disruptions without a typical break in the outer lining of the bone. Stress fractures result from the inability of the bone to resist repetitive loading from various activities, such as running and marching. Other sports associated with different types of stress fractures include bowling, weight lifting, gymnastics, basketball, football, dancing and rowing.

Diagnosis is made by history and physical exam. Specialized x-rays (such as a bone scan) may show evidence of the stress fracture in its early stages. MRI scans may allow a more accurate diagnosis. Your doctor determines the specialized tests needed to diagnose stress fractures.

Stress fractures are caused by repetitive trauma known as microtrauma. It is not an uncommon injury in those involved in marching activities, such as military cadets. Gymnasts, basketball players and those in other high impact, repetitive activity are also at risk for a stress fracture.

Last updated: Jan-01-09

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