A hairline fracture might seem like a mild problem, but ignoring the issue and putting further pressure on the bone can lead to a more serious breakage. It's best to visit a doctor and take it easy, especially if you’re an athlete. If left untreated, a hairline fracture can quickly become a more debilitating injury.
The Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Tomball and Shenandoah, Texas, specializes in fractures and sports medicine. Hairline fractures often occur in the legs and feet of professional or hobby athletes, and Michael L Blackwell, MD has experience dealing with pain management and rehabilitation for these injuries.
Who is at risk for hairline fractures?
Hairline fractures, or stress fractures, occur when the bone is cracked or severely bruised. They are common among athletes who perform high-impact sports or activities that involve lots of running and jumping. People with osteoporosis are also at risk of developing hairline fractures, as well as women who suffer from abnormal or absent periods.
Because hairline fractures often occur in the legs and feet, maintaining your feet and ankles is extremely important. Conditions like bunions and plantar fasciitis can impact how you run and jump, and improper technique can lead to stress fractures.
The bones most often affected by stress fractures include:
- The bones of the heel
- The second and third metatarsals in the feet
- The bones within the ankle
- The navicular, located in the foot
These areas are prone to stress fractures because they are subject to high amounts of pressure as you move. If you suddenly increase the amount of activity you're doing, you're more likely to suffer from a stress fracture as your body struggles to adjust to higher demands.
Why you shouldn't ignore hairline fractures
Some people don't realize they have a hairline fracture until they've stopped moving for the day and recognize the pain. Hairline fractures might not hurt as much as a fully broken bone, so they might go ignored. However, failing to rest the injury could result in further fractures.
Like any broken bone, you should visit your doctor to receive an examination. This is especially important if you are an athlete and don't want the injury to affect your performance in the future. Your doctor will recommend rest above all else; hairline fractures are not serious, but they can be exacerbated and turn into serious issues.
As you heal, you might benefit from rehabilitation by a professional sports medicine doctor. You can request an appointment with Dr. Blackwell by contacting our Tomball or Shenandoah location.