Bones feel stress too - Causes of stress fracture

  • By Team TDO

Stress fracture is also known as March fracture. It is a type of fracture in which the fracture is observed because of repeated and prolonged stress. Mechanism behind this fracture is surprising. Repeated and prolonged stress on the bone leads to resorption of bones and later it results in fracture.

Repeated and prolonged stressful activity can cause pressure on certain areas. Repeated stress on this area may cause stress fracture.

It is commonly seen in the bones of soles. It can involve bones of legs or bones of thighs as well. It happens among people who are undergoing repeated trauma because of repeated activity involving that particular part. It is found mostly among the lower extremities.

Causes of stress fracture are as follows:

  1. Bones become weak in old age. Calcium content in the bone reduces and produces osteopenia. When it progresses still deeper it produces porous bone or osteoporosis.
  2. Osteoporosis is the common finding in females after menopause. Hence, increases the chance of fracture. Reduced intake of vitamin A and calcium in diet would increase the chances.
  3. Muscle disorder can also produce this type of fracture. Muscle dysfunction puts stress on underlying bone and hence makes it vulnerable. Muscle stiffness and low flexibility may produce stress on bones and make it prone to fractures.
  4. Congenital defect of the foot can create pressure areas. Bones are liable to break at that site.
  5. Acquired defect - history of trauma, injury can cause increased tension over certain areas. Trauma can also cause changes in the arch of the foot.
  6. Hormonal imbalance can also cause this condition.
  7. Bones in the development phase is prone to undergo fracture but they unite faster than adult fractures.
  8. Exhaustive workout of high impact exercises for prolonged duration.
  9. Players, dancers, soldiers are more prone to stress fractures.
  10. Certain medication produces increase resorption of bones.
  11. Certain accessory produces ill distribution of weight and produces extra pressure on few areas. Hence fracture-repeated-stress on the same site leads to fracture.
  12. Dancers are prone to fibula fracture.
  13. Runners are prone to tibia fracture.
  14. Marching can cause metatarsal fracture.
  15. Basketball can cause tibia fracture.
  16. Gymnastic people are prone to fracture of ulna and radius.


  1. Bandaging helps.
  2. Do take adequate rest.
  3. Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  4. Avoid high impact and weight-bearing exercises.
  5. Applying ice pack is very helpful.