A stress fracture is a tiny crack in the bone due to a repetitive low-intensity force. Having osteoporosis and not getting enough calcium and vitamin D to strengthen your bones could also contribute to the problem. If not managed appropriately, stress fractures can get worse resulting in a complete break of the bone. Here’s how to heal quickly from a stress fracture:
The important thing to do initially is to elevate the injured limb and apply an ice pack to the site of injury (for no more than 20 minutes at a time) during the first 24 to 48 hours. This reduces swelling and inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen may be used to help control pain. Depending on the severity of the stress fracture and which bone is injured, a cast or a splint may also be applied.
Once the swelling has reduced to the point that you can see skin creases and your pain is sufficiently well controlled, you can start partial weight bearing on the limb using a cane or a walker for assistance (if you have a lower extremity stress fracture). Controlled weight bearing is encouraged as it stimulates the healing process.
However, for the next 1-1/2 to 2 months or unless you are totally pain free, take a break from sports or any activity that causes pain. Returning to sports or routine activities too soon could result in delayed or improper healing as well as the possibility of a re-fracture.
- Apply ice and take pain medications to control symptoms.
- Use a cast or splint to protect the stress fracture site.
- Start partial weight bearing only when pain free.
- Increase your activity to avoid recurrence of fracture.
If you suspect your bone pain may be due to a stress fracture, contact South Palm Orthopedics for an accurate assessment and an individually tailored treatment plan.
South Palm Orthopedics is a medical practice devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and diseases of the body's musculoskeletal system. Our orthopedic surgeons have advanced fellowship training in the areas of hand & wrist, shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, trauma and fractures, foot and ankle, and sports medicine. The physicians of South Palm Orthopedics are committed to providing the highest level of orthopedic care to each and every patient each and every time.