Stress or fatigue fracture


While a single impact can cause a complete fracture, repeated stress can also weaken the bone to the point that it cracks. This is called a fatigue or stress fracture. Depending on the area affected and the injury’s severity, stabilization, immobilization or fixation will be required.



When the stress fracture occurs in a weight-bearing bone, healing may be delayed or impossible if the patient continues to put weight on that bone. Rest is the only way to achieve healing from such a fracture. The healing time ranges from 4 to 8 weeks. The activity that caused the fracture must be avoided during the first week. Only light activity is allowed during the remainder of the recovery period. In some cases, electromagnetic stimulation can help bones to heal. In other cases, a walking boot or shock-absorbing insoles can limit mechanical stresses during recovery. Surgery may be necessary for severe stress fractures and recovery can take 3 to 4 months.