Hairline fractures, otherwise known as stress fractures are caused by repetitive forces acting on the bones usually in places such as the foot and lower limb. Due to an imbalance between the resorption and growth of new bone tissues and cells, bones are unable to regenerate and timely replacement cannot happen. Due to this fatigue, micro cracks in the form of hairline fractures are ultimately formed. What are some causes of hairline fractures?
High impact sports
High impact sports such as soccer, basketball and rugby are at a higher risk of developing stress fractures. This is due to the stressful nature of the game and the forces involved. The 3 sports require constant jumping and running throughout the duration of the game. Over time, fatigue will kick in due to insufficient rest and micro cracks will happen as a result.
Increase in intensity of activities
Fractures can happen to people who have a sudden change in the intensity of their activities. For someone who is used to sitting in the office for prolonged periods of time, a change in lifestyle can lead to a rapid increase in intensity of activities and cause hairline fractures. This is especially so in people who are trying to lose weight or increase muscle mass. A sudden increase in physical activities will place tremendous pressure on the body and lead to a higher risk of injury.
Menopause in women will result in the thinning of bones and studies have concluded that an average woman loses 10% of her bone mass within the first 5 years. Menopause will cause a drop in oestrogen levels which is responsible for maintaining bone strength in women. Due to this decrease in bone mass, it is at a higher risk of fractures, especially stress fractures.
Ballet dancers are often required to be using the ball of their foot and this adds a lot of stress to the bones there as the entire body weight is acting on this. Coupled with requirements to turn and jump around, the intensity is amplified, placing the foot to be at an extremely high risk of hairline fractures.
Causes of hairline fractures are plenty and they are quite painful. However, due to their tiny nature, they often heal themselves within a few months if proper care is administered. They can be caused by daily routines as well as sports. Be mindful of restraining yourself from strenuous activities when you are a patient of hairline fractures and you will soon be on your way to pre-injury status.