A tibial stress fracture is a condition that is characterized by an incomplete break in the shin bone or tibia. During running, a compressive force or exertion that is placed on the tibia causes it to become squeezed, compacted or squashed. When these forces becomes repetitive and beyond the capacity of the bone, damage to the bone gradually happens.
Symptoms of a tibial stress fracture
- Pain in the outer area of the lower third of the tibia
- Severe pain that increases when performing activities and subsides with resting
- Severe pain and difficulty with walking
- Pain when applying pressure on the shin
- Pain at night or with resting
- Muscles become fatigue due to prolonged running and result to stress to the bone and cause a fracture.
- Excessive weight-bearing on the bone due to severe contraction of muscles especially in running.
- Running on even surfaces such as grass or road and suddenly switching to uneven surfaces.
- Repetitive impact or stress to the bone eventually will result to a fracture.
- Bad posture of the foot
- Excessive training
- Poor biomechanics
- Weakness, fatigue or stiffness in the muscles
- Stiffness of the joint
- Wearing ill-fitting footwear
- Unequal length of the legs
- Irregular menstruation
- Take plenty of rest at least for eight weeks. Avoid placing weight on the affected area to prevent further damage and delays the healing.
- Wrap frozen gel pack or an ice pack in a towel before placing to the area for at least 15-20 minutes to lessen the inflammation and the pain.
- Compress the affected area using an ACE bandage and wrap it around the affected tibia to lessen the swelling and the pain.
- Elevate the area above the level of the heart to lessen the swelling and the pain. It also increases blood circulation in the area. Raise the leg in couple of pillows to keep it elevated.
- Use prescribed crutches to prevent unnecessary movements and complete weight-bearing in the affected area.
- Take the prescribed medications to lessen the pain and the inflammation.
- Perform rehabilitation exercises with the help of the physical therapist for strength, flexibility, balance and restore range of movement of the affected area.
- Make changes slowly when starting a new exercise routine. Avoid overworking the body to prevent tibial stress fracture.
- Take calcium supplement for strong and healthy bones.
- Wear shoes with proper support for the feet to prevent stress fracture.