Can A Stress Fracture Be Missed On An X-ray?

Doctors often use X-rays to diagnose fractures, but many early stress fractures are too small to appear on an X-ray. If an X-ray looks normal but symptoms suggest the presence of a stress fracture, your doctor may recommend another imaging test, such as an MRI scan.

What does the beginning of a stress fracture feel like?

Stress fracture signs to watch for

Deep aching pain within a limb or joint. Dull pain that occurs with activity (sometimes midway through the activity), then disappears with rest. Pain that doesn’t improve despite rest or RICE treatment measures. Weakness or loss of performance in the affected area.

How does a stress fracture feel?

You likely feel a dull ache where the fracture is located. The pain intensifies when you’re on your feet and lessens or goes away when you’re resting. Over half of stress fractures are in the lower leg/ankle. If the fracture has gone untreated for a while, you feel significant pain when you bear any weight on the foot.

Do you need a boot for a stress fracture?

Rest is the key to the initial treatment of a stress fracture. You may need a walking boot or brace along with a cast or crutches to help rest the injured area and limit the amount of weight bearing allowed. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen are useful to help with inflammation and pain.

How do you rule out a stress fracture?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

An MRI is considered the best way to diagnose stress fractures. It can visualize lower grade stress injuries (stress reactions) before an X-ray shows changes. This type of test is also better able to distinguish between stress fractures and soft tissue injuries.

How does a walking boot help a stress fracture?

Using a stress fracture foot treatment boot can reduce stress on the foot and ankle and lower the chance of additional injury setting back one’s recovery. A period of rest and orthotic usage can give the weight bearing bones and their supporting tissues a chance to heal.

Does a stress fracture hurt when you touch it?

The key symptom of a stress fracture is pain. Depending on the bone affected, it tends to hurt in very specific, pinpoint areas, and it will hurt when you touch the exact area where the bone is broken.

Does a stress fracture swell?

At first, you might barely notice the pain associated with a stress fracture, but it tends to worsen with time. The tenderness usually starts at a specific spot and decreases during rest. You might have swelling around the painful area.

Can you self diagnose a stress fracture?

Upon suspecting you have a stress fracture, treat the area with ice and take a recommended dose of anti-inflammatories, but keep in mind that stress fractures are not a self-diagnosis or self-treatment type of injury.

Can a stress fracture happen suddenly?

What can cause them? This can happen whenever you suddenly and often drastically change the intensity or duration of your workout. Some people may find that they develop stress fractures while on holiday, since people find themselves walking around far more than they usually do on a regular basis.

How quickly can a stress fracture develop?

A stress fracture develops over a period of many days, weeks or months. By contrast, acute trauma typically results from one incident — a fractured ankle from a severe twist, for example, or a fractured metatarsal from a heavy object falling on it.

What does a metatarsal stress fracture feel like?

Pain, aching, and tenderness that worsens during and after physical activity or movement. Relief from pain during periods of rest. Swelling on the ankle or top of your foot. Bruising and swelling at the site of the stress fracture.

What is a shin stress fracture?

A stress fracture in the shin is a small crack in the shin bone. Overuse and minor injuries can result in a stress reaction or deep bone bruise. If you start to feel shin pain, ease off your exercise routine to allow for healing. Continued pressure on the bone can make it start to crack, resulting in a stress fracture.

Do stress fractures hurt more at night?

What are the symptoms of a stress fracture? Pain is usually felt over the injured area and tends to develop over a few weeks. It is typically worse when putting weight on the injured area and better when resting. As it gets worse, the pain can start to be present when at rest and at night.

Can you have a stress fracture on the outside of your foot?

Stress fractures in the fifth metatarsal bone (on the outer side of the foot) or in the navicular or talus bones take longer to heal. Your doctor may apply a cast to your foot to keep your bones in a fixed position and to remove the stress on your involved leg.

Can you get a stress fracture on the top of your foot?

Pain caused by a stress fracture will typically intensify during weight-bearing activity and diminish during rest. Swelling. The injured foot may appear swollen; this can occur anywhere on the foot but it is most likely to be seen on the top portion because of injury to a metatarsal.

What is the fastest way to heal a stress fracture?

Diagnosis/tests for a stress fracture

Some stress fractures don’t show up on an X-ray until a few weeks after the bone starts hurting. Sometimes an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or a bone scan is needed to confirm the stress fracture.

Should I wrap my foot if I have a stress fracture?

If swelling is present, utilize a simple ACE wrap around the foot and ankle to help with the swelling and pain. Start at the toes, and work up the leg. Take care to not apply the ACE wrap too tightly as over squeezing the foot can be irritating.

Do you need a moon boot for a stress fracture?

The boot you have been given is for your comfort only and is not needed to aid fracture healing but will help to settle your symptoms and should be worn for walking for 6 weeks.

Can stress fracture heal without boot?

A low risk stress fracture will typically heal on its own just fine, and may not even require any time spent in a boot or on crutches.

Can you walk on a hairline fracture?

Although one can walk on a foot with a stress fracture, these tiny hairline breaks should not be ignored as they can return unless properly treated.

What is a navicular stress fracture?

A navicular stress fracture is a crack or break in the navicular bone, which is a boat-shaped bone in the middle of the foot. These fractures often are due to overuse, ongoing forces, and/or stress on the bone rather than a sudden injury.

Do stress fractures heal?

Stress fractures generally heal on their own with simple measures, such as avoiding activities that put stress on the area. In some cases, however, surgery is needed to help the fracture heal properly. Many stress fractures occur in the foot or lower leg.