A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone. Stress fractures often develop from overuse, such as from high-impact sports like distance running or basketball. Clinical findings include pain over the bone, inability to bear weight, swelling, gross deformity or angulation, partial or complete loss of use or motion. Patients will need an X-rays and sometimes a bone scan to detect a stress fracture.
A common test if the X-ray does not show any fracture is a technetium 99 bone scan to confirm the presence of a stress fracture. This test may be important to have for a highly competitive athlete to confirm and differentiate between a soft tissue injury and a fracture.
Radiographs or X-rays may not indicate site of fracture until after repair process has commenced and bone callus tissue has been produced, usually 2-3 weeks following injury.