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Stress fracture



The bones of the lower leg comprise the shin bone (tibia) and the calf bone (fibula).

  1. Tibia

  2. Fibula


Cause: Repeated uniform loads, particularly when walking or running, can cause such great stress that cracks (fractures) appear in the bone (article).

Symptoms: Pain upon applying pressure (direct and indirect tenderness) and applying load (walking, running).

Examination: X-ray. Since many stress fractures are not visible early in the course, x-ray examination can be repeated after a few weeks, if stress fractures are still suspected. Scintigraphy, MRI and ultrasound scans can often diagnose stress fractures far earlier than x-rays (Ultrasonic image) (Photo). It is crucial for the result of the treatment that the diagnosis is made as early as possible (article).

Treatment: The treatment primarily comprises relief and possibly bandaging. Only in special cases is surgery necessary. It is imperative that there are good shock-absorbing soles in the shoes (article).

Rehabilitation: The rehabilitation is completely dependant on the type of fracture and the treatment (relief or surgical).
Also read rehabilitation, general.

Complications: If progress is not smooth, you should be medically re-evaluated to ensure that the fracture is healing according to plan. In some cases a false joint is formed (pseudoarthrosis), which requires surgical treatment.

Special: Shock absorbing shoes or inlays will reduce the load.
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