Lower limb stress fractures in runners

This article reviews the current evidence regarding stress fractures of the lower limb.

Stress reactions/fractures account for up to 20% of athletic injuries and are common in high load bearing and endurance activities, particularly distance running. Early detection is the most critical part of management and MRI is the most sensitive study to request in most lower limb stress fractures. Most stress fractures heal within 8 weeks with conservative management which includes a period of either non-weight-bearing or weight-bearing as tolerated depending on location and severity. Recovery timeframes are improved by recognising and modifying both intrinsic (e.g poor foot mechanics, strength deficits, diet) and extrinsic risk factors (e.g old/inappropriate footwear, high load, non-periodised training regimes).

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