Stress fractures are common overuse injuries, reported more frequently in female athletes than in male athletes. The clinician should have a high index of suspicion for this injury whether an athlete presents with complaints of acute pain and disability or insidious onset of pain that is aggravated by activity and relieved by rest. Radiographs, bone scans, CT scans, and MR imaging may all be useful in confirming the diagnosis. Conservative treatment is usually successful, although one must be especially vigilant in treating a stress fracture prone to complications. Identifying risk factors for susceptibility to stress fracture development may help to avoid recurrence of the injury. More research is needed to determine cause versus association of these various risk factors in relationship to stress injury to bone.
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