What is Hairline Fracture? What are the Symptoms and Treatment?


A hairline fracture, also known as a stress fracture, is a small crack or severe bruise within a bone.

This injury is most common in athletes, especially athletes of sports that involve running and jumping.

Causes for Hairline Fracture 
Hairline fractures are often caused by overuse or repetitive actions when microscopic damage is done to the bone over time. An increase in either the duration or frequency of activity can result in a hairline fracture.This means that even if you are used to running, suddenly increasing either your distance or the number of times per week you run can cause this injury.Not allowing yourself enough time to heal between activities is often a factor in the probability of getting this injury.

Symptoms of Hairline Fracture 
The most common symptom of a hairline fracture is pain. This pain can gradually get worse over time, especially if you don’t stop weight-bearing activity. Pain is usually worse during activity and lessens during rest.

Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising.

Treatments for Hairline Fracture
If you suspect you have a hairline fracture, there are a number of first aid treatments you can perform before you go to the doctor.

Home treatments
Follow the RICE method:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

It’s important to seek further treatment from your doctor if the pain becomes severe or doesn’t get better with rest. It usually takes up to six to eight weeks to completely heal from a hairline fracture, it’s important to modify your activities during that time. Cycling and swimming are great alternatives to more high-impact exercises. Some hairline fractures will require surgery, where bones are supported by the addition of a type of fastener using pins or screws to hold bones together during the healing process.

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