What is a Hairline Fracture?
A common cause of sports injuries, hairline fracture is a type of fracture that begins as a minor inflammation on the surface of a bone and manifests as a tiny thin hair-like crack on the bone.
It is also known as a stress fracture or a fissure fracture. Affecting the weight-bearing joints, hips, knees, and ankles, and also the joints of the feet, spine, lower back, and pelvis, it occurs when a stressful amount of physical activity puts excessive, repeated tension on the bones.
A lack of regular health check-ups can often lead to ignorance and then minor inflammation, not getting enough time to rest and recover, can lead to a fracture. A basic hairline fracture can be treated with common first aid. Although seemingly minor in the beginning, if left untreated, a hairline fracture can escalate into more serious fractures. Let’s learn more about how you can recognize a hairline fracture and its hairline fracture symptoms. You will also find some useful hairline fracture treatment methods.
Causes of Hairline Fractures
Hairline fracture causes are many. Since it’s commonly caused and minor, there is a chance that you might ignore it when you face a minor pain. But today let’s learn about the causes and help you understand hairline fracture better so that you can be cautious while being active.
Hairline fracture causes include repetitive stress, intense physical activity that leads to overuse and strain, not using proper equipment while working out, or using the wrong technique. Athletes or people who go to the gym sometimes stress on some particular part of their body, jumping, dancing, and running excessively can all put tension on your bones. Other hairline fracture causes include nutritional deficiency and weakened bones. Calcium and vitamin D nutritional deficiency can lead to weak bones that are prone to fracture. Sometimes the use of odd footwear or high heels can also cause hairline fractures.
Symptoms of Hairline Fractures
Common hairline fracture symptoms include:
One of the most obvious hairline fracture symptoms is persistent pain. This pain is often milder as compared to other fractures but it increases with activity and seems to numb during periods of rest. The pain could be sharp or dull and gradually increase.
With any injury comes swelling and that is the same here. Swelling is one of the hairline fracture symptoms that is common with any type of injury and it might take some time to appear as the fracture worsens.
Another one of the hairline fracture symptoms is tenderness around the area where there’s a crack on the bone. This tenderness can cause discomfort and pain upon applying gentle pressure.
An ignored one of the hairline fracture symptoms is bruising. Bruising can be light and may not always be visible. But with a hairline fracture, comes bruising because of the burst of blood vessels during the injury making blood leak to the surrounding tissues.
Reduced Range of Motion
The next one among the hairline fracture symptoms is a reduced range of motion. Sometimes there may be stiffness and pain. There will be discomfort if the fracture is on the weight-bearing bones as it can put extra strain on the affected area. Daily activities like walking, and standing can, as a result, become very painful and difficult.
The hairline fracture symptoms can be treated with proper methods if it is minor. The hairline fracture treatment methods are as follows:
The RICE method is a combination of hairline fracture treatment methods.
- Rest: The best way to treat a small hairline fracture is to give it time to heal on its own by resting and avoiding physical activities, dancing, gym, or anything else that caused it in the first place.
- Ice and Immobilization: The next two hairline fracture treatment methods are, icing the injured area and sometimes if the injury is severe, crutches or brace may be required to reduce stress on the affected bone.
- Compression: The next is to compress the area by reducing the blood flow and swelling in the injured area.
- Elevation: Elevating the limb over your heart can also help reduce swelling.
- Ensure that you always wear proper and comfortable footwear. Avoid wearing high heels for long periods. Use good shock-absorbing footwear when you do any kind of exercise or physical activity.
- When transitioning to a physical activity after an injury start slow and steady, don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself.
- Eat a nutritious diet enriched with Calcium and Vitamin D to strengthen your bones and avoid degeneration at a later stage.
- Injuries can occur anywhere, seek help if you notice any signs of pain. There are medical rooms in offices and occupational health center establishments that can help you with your pain. Make sure to bring it to the attention of a healthcare professional and get it treated.
Hairline fracture may be the most minor form of a fracture, but the pain that comes with it can be intense. Get professional help in case of any pain, and get imaging studies done. If it’s minor, you can manage it on your own using the treatment methods suggested in the blog. Make sure you use the prevention strategies to avoid the probability of any minor breakages.