Stress Fractures Clinical Presentation

Updated: Mar 09, 2022
  • Author: Stefanos F Haddad, MD; Chief Editor: Murali Poduval, MBBS, MS, DNB  more...
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With stress fractures, the typical complaint is that of an insidious onset of pain with activity or a complaint of pain in the affected extremity with repeated loading. Usually, the patient has no recent history of trauma to the affected area.

The pain subsides at rest, but symptoms return when the patient resumes the original activity. Local tenderness and swelling are often found at the fracture site. Early diagnosis is usually based on clinical findings, and several weeks may be required before the fracture site or new bone formation is visible on radiography.

The pain may occur only with weightbearing, and it may be reproducible with continued or prolonged activity. Some patients may associate a change in training equipment or training methods with the onset of symptoms.


Physical Examination

Common findings on physical examination may include tenderness or pain on palpation or percussion of the bone. Erythema or edema may be present at the site of the stress fracture. Loading or stress of the affected bone may also produce symptoms.