» Health » Flexibility

Stress Fractures: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

By Brad Walker
Flexibility Expert
Updated: June 18, 2008
Flexibility is essential as well. Muscles that are flexible will provide more support and, due to their elasticity, absorb more shock. They are also less susceptible to injury, which could lead to an imbalance or improper gait. Stiff muscles will also lead to incorrect running and landing patterns that could lead to extra stress.

Stretching is one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance, preventing sports injury and properly rehabilitating sprain and strain injury. Don't make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won't be effective.

Using proper conditioning strategies before starting a new activity or beginning competition will also help. Strengthening the muscles (especially those in the legs) will keep them from fatiguing too early and allow them to effectively absorb the shock of the activity. Strength training will also help to strengthen the bones. Stronger muscles will support the body and help maintain proper form during running and jumping activities.
Continue Article Below

Nutrition is another important preventative measure for stress fractures. Increased nutritional intake of calcium and vitamin D will assist in bone growth and regeneration, which is vital to preventing stress fractures.


Rest is the first step in treating a stress fracture. Stopping the activity that has caused the injury and resting the injured area is essential. Ice and elevation are also important in short-term treatment. Over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines will help as well.

For minor stress fractures simply resting and avoiding the offending activity until pain is eliminated may take care of it. However, if the pain returns after re-starting the activity it may be necessary to see a medical professional.

Another helpful method for improved recovery is the use of ultrasound and heat. Ultrasound, or TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) simply uses a light electrical pulse to stimulate the affected area. While heat, in the form of a ray lamp or hot water bottle, is very effective in stimulating the damaged tissues.

Some stress fractures require immobilization or reduction of weight bearing stress. An air cast, immobilizing boot, or even crutches may be required.

It is important to keep active during the stress fracture rest period with no-impact activities such as swimming, biking or weight training. This will make the return to activity less painful.

When it is time to return to activity, usually 4-8 weeks after the injury, it is important to work back gradually and identify the error that originally caused the injury and avoid the same mistakes.
Free Profile
Age: Current Weight:
Height: ft in Target Weight:
Free Profile
Related Flexibility Articles
The Basics of PNF Stretching
Posted on December 10, 2008
Preventing Shin Splints
Posted on December 10, 2008
Ankle Sprains
Posted on November 15, 2008
Sponsor Links