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2288 pages added, reviewed or updated during the last month (last updated: 20/4/2021)


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stress fracture

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This a fracture that occurs in the apparently normal bone of a healthy person. This type of fracture is caused by repetitive minor stress, and not a single traumatic incident.

Sites of stress fractures are dependent on the activity that is causing the repeated stress. Some examples of associations between activities and sites of stress fractures are presented below:

Site Activity
humerus cricket in adolescence
tibia and fibula long distance running
metatarsals marching
pars interarticularis of the fifth lumbar vertebrae gymnastics

Stress fractures occur as a result of microfracture from repetitive loading below a single load fracture threshold. Histological changes develop prior to a microfracture; if load is not modified a complete fracture will occur (1).

Notes:

  • 'overuse injury to bone' essentially refers to stress fracture
    • note that stress fractures can occur in older patients e.g. insufficiency fracture seen by rheumatologists in osteoporotic patients

Reference:

  • (1) ARC. Sports-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders. Reports on the Rheumatic Diseases 2008;14.

Last reviewed 01/2018

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