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Stress Fractures

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When your child overuses their muscles during sports, the muscles can become too tired. Eventually, the tired muscles can transfer force over into bones and lead to tiny fractures called stress fractures. Most stress fractures happen in the lower legs or foot.

Athletes in gymnastics, tennis, running, and basketball are more likely to get stress fractures. Your child may be at increased risk if they make sudden changes to the intensity of their workouts.

If your child experiences pain in their foot or lower leg that gets worse with exercise, they may have a stress fracture.

Treatments

Pain Medicines
Your child’s doctor may prescribe pain medicines to help reduce pain after the fracture.

Rest
Your athlete will need to give their body plenty of time to rest and heal, up to six to eight weeks.

Braces
Shoe inserts or braces can provide support while the fracture heals. Your child may also need to use crutches or a walking boot.

Tests

Physical Exam
A physical exam can help pinpoint the cause of pain. Your child’s doctor may ask questions about your child’s pain and examine the painful area.

X-rays
An X-ray may show a stress fracture.

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
Sometimes an X-ray cannot pick up a stress fracture. Your child may need a CT scan to identify the small break.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRIs show all tissues, not just bones. They can help identify stress fractures and rule out problems like tendon tears.

Why Choose the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute?

Home to a sports medicine certified pediatrician. The University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute is home to a sports medicine certified pediatrician, who completed specialized fellowship training to help athletes under the age of 18. You can rely on our expertise to help your young athlete recover, rebuild strength, and get back in the game.

Multidisciplinary support designed just for young athletes. We focus on caring just for children and teens, helping them avoid injuries and return to sports as quickly as possible. Each member of your child’s care team has years of experience and expertise caring for children and adolescents. From physical therapists and pediatric dietitians, to pediatric radiologists and orthopedic surgeons, you can trust that your child will receive treatment designed for their growing body.

Honored to be on your team. Even though we may treat some of your child’s sports heroes, our experts at the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute are proud to offer all of our patients the same level of expertise at one of the nation's leading sports medicine programs. We combine top-notch care with research, clinical trials, and innovative treatments for your young athlete, at any skill level.

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