Oct 11, 2017 / Sports Medicine
#SRHaccess Facebook LIVE Recap: Stress Fractures & the Female Athlete Triad
On this week’s Facebook live, Jane S. Chung, M.D. joined us to discuss her expertise in sports related stress fractures and the female athlete triad. Below is the recap of the conversation.
What is a stress fracture?
- Also known as a fatigue fracture, a stress fracture is an overuse injury when there is weakening of the bones.
- Repetitive and excessive stress on the bone.
- Different than a traumatic fracture from a fall or injury.
- The body breaks down bone to build new bone – when the breaking down of the bone occurs faster than the rebuilding, it can lead to a stress fracture.
- Athletes that try to do much – too fast – too soon.
- Abrupt changes in training regimen.
- MRI or CT for further imaging, if needed.
- Every fracture is different.
- Our specialists evaluate the age, type of sport, severity and location of the stress fracture to determine the appropriate treatment.
- Immobilization – placed in a boot or cast.
- Non-weight bearing – the use of crutches.
- Physical therapy
- Nutrition consult
- It can take weeks to months to heal.
- Depending on the severity of the stress fracture, it can be a season ending injury.
- Endurance sports i.e. cross country
- High level gymnasts
- Soccer players
- Increase of Vitamin D and calcium intake to build strong bones.
- Accurate calorie intake.
- After the stress fracture is fully healed, the athlete should not be more prone to a reoccurrence.
- If the athlete has repetitive stress fractures, other factors should be analyzed.
- Other factors include:
- Proper shoe wear – the need for orthotics.
- Evaluate the anatomy of the foot – flat footed or high arch.
- Nutritional evaluation to make sure the athlete is fueling his or body properly.
- Medical condition involving three components: lower energy availability, lower bone mineral density, menstrual disruption.
- Do not need all three to be diagnosed.
- Decreased energy availability means the athlete is not consuming enough calories or energy to fuel their body. This then impairs bone health directly and indirectly, which decreases estrogen levels and disrupts the mensural cycle.
- History of recurrent stress fractures
- Extreme weight loss
- Restrictive eating behavior
- The athlete has increased fatigued and level of performance has decreased.
- Irregular or absent menses.
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