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Fractures are breaks in the bone that are often caused by a blow or a fall. A fracture may be classified as a simple fracture (a thin fracture that may not run through the entire bone), or a compound fracture, in which the broken bone protrudes through the skin. Symptoms may include tenderness over the bone, swelling of the affected area, deformity of the limb, and increased pain upon movement.
Stress fractures are weak spots or small cracks in the bone caused by continuous overuse. Stress fractures often occur in the foot after training for basketball, running, and other sports. The bones in the midfoot (metatarsals) in runners are especially vulnerable to stress fractures.
A stress fracture may not cause swelling. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of stress fractures may resemble other conditions and medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis of a stress fracture usually is confirmed with a complete medical history and a physical examination. X-rays often cannot detect stress fractures because they are so fine, so a CT scan or an MRI may be performed. Once calluses form around the fracture, an x-ray can confirm a stress fracture. Sometimes, a bone scan is performed to detect a stress fracture.
Specific treatment for a stress fracture will be determined by your physician based on:
Treatment may include: