Dr. Chung discusses stress fractures on Facebook live.

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.
Most common causes of a stress fracture:
  • 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.
When a child comes to Scottish Rite Hospital, how is a stress fracture diagnosed?
  • X-rays
  • MRI or CT for further imaging, if needed.
What are the different treatment options for stress fractures?
  • 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
How long is the healing process?
  • It can take weeks to months to heal.
  • Depending on the severity of the stress fracture, it can be a season ending injury.
Most common sports that stress fractures occur:
  • Endurance sports i.e. cross country
  • High level gymnasts
  • Soccer players
Prevention tips for stress fractures:
  • Increase of Vitamin D and calcium intake to build strong bones.
  • Accurate calorie intake.
What is the possibility of a reoccurring stress fractures?
  • 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.
What is the female athlete triad?
  • 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.
Symptoms to look out for:
  • 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.

Learn more about the sports medicine conditions we treat. Have a question? Contact us at askadoc@tsrh.org

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