Causes of Stress Fractures

"Stress fractures are essentially what we call insufficiency fractures. They’re a hairline crack of the bone. They don’t typically show up on x-ray - this one is about 2-3 months into it, so you can see this kind of callus formation or extra bone formation - this one is very very obvious. Most of the ones we see don’t show up and are misdiagnosed very frequently. There are an overuse injury - basically too much too soon, is what we see with stress fractures. They’re very common in the lower extremity, very common in military actually, obviously for the long hikes and runs that they do.

Approximately 10% of all fractures occur in the foot, which I thought was an interesting stat. It seemed pretty high to me.

The ankle consists of the tibia, the fibula, and the talus bone. The tibia is that big bone, the fibula is that bone on the outside of the foot and the talus bone is the bone that sits up into the ankle joint. Metatarsal bones - we’ve already seen a couple of those with the stress fractures within the long bones of the foot.

The two best ways to describe stress fractures is normal bone with abnormal activity and abnormal bone with normal activity.

What I mean by that is, your bone can be normal, you may not have any disease, but you’re doing too much. That’s your abnormal activity. Abnormal bone is where you have osteoporosis or a tumor or something like that which makes normal activity, just by normal walking, cause that stress fracture to occur."