Sports Medicine doctors are specially trained to treat a range of athletic and sports related injuries. This includes stress fractures and bone related impact damage.
What Exactly Is a Stress Fracture?
Stress fractures are quite common. An athlete suffering from a stress fracture will usually complain of tenderness or pain directly on the bone that worsens with activity but improves after rest. They are most prone to this type of injury during the beginning of the sports season as a result of increased physical activity that is typical at this time. The best treatment for stress fractures is rest from activities that induce impact for at least 6-8 weeks and avoidance of pain inducing running activities
What Causes Stress Fractures?
Stress fractures may result due to one of the following reasons:
* Biomechanical issues
* Endocrinology problems
* Dietary problems
Biomechanical causes of stress fractures may include running on hard surfaces, ill-fitting footwear, malformation of the feet including hyper pronation, flat arch, high arch, or other foot deformity. These problems can increase the probability of stress fractures in athletes.
Fractures can result in loss of function and limit the ability to run, walk, or participate fully in sports activities. Physical therapy after experiencing a fracture injury can help an athlete regain mobility and more safely return to sports
Physical Therapy for Stress Fractures
Wolff’s law tells us that bones grow and remodel in direct response the amount of stress placed on them. A qualified physical therapist is equipped to prescribe exercises that apply the right kind of stress to promote maximum bone healing and insures that your injured body part returns to normal function.
If there has been any surgery to reduce a serious fracture, there may be resulting scar tissue at the incision. In that case, a physical therapist may perform scar tissue massage therapy to help improve the scar’s mobility. They may also instruct you on how to do therapy techniques on your own
If you are using an assistive device for walking, your therapist may help you exercises that will help you walk independently.
Preventing Future Stress Fractures
Preventing another stress fracture from occurring will involve some detective work. As the factors that caused the injury must be eliminated. Exercise and training equipment may need to be modified to avoid further trauma and injury. Stress fractures may be the result of running in old athletic shoes that no longer are able to adequately absorb shock or playing sports on hard surfaces like asphalt instead of using a composite surface. Limb-length discrepancy can be another cause, especially in runners who run on the same side of the road, which can cause one leg to be lower than the other, resulting in injury. Certain biomechanical issues can also predispose athletes to stress fractures.
Competitive athletes can be prone to stress fractures and must manage their activities to avoid recurrence. This is because failure to follow a sports medicine expert’s advice can delay rehabilitation or seriously impede an athlete’s return to athletics and even cause more serious damage.