Stress fractures caused by physical exercise

Acta Orthop Scand. 1978 Feb;49(1):19-27. doi: 10.3109/17453677809005718.


A series of 142 stress fractures caused by sporting activities and physical exercise is presented. 121 fractures occurred in athletes and 21 in non-competitive sportsmen. Distance runners presented with 68 fractures, skiers 12, sprinters 10, orienteering runners 9, vaulters 3, and football-players 3 fractures. Athletes engaged in other events had fewer stress fractures. 76 fractures occurred in the tibia, 26 in the metatarsal bones, 20 in the fibula, 5 in the femoral neck, 4 in the femoral shaft, and 2 in the metacapal bones, lower pubic arch and sesamoid bones of the first MTP-joint. There was one fracture of each of the following: the humeral shaft, the ulna, the vertebral arch of L 5, the tarsal navicular and the proximal phalanx of the fifth toe. The treatment was generally a pause in training for 4-6 weeks, on the average. Running caused most of the stress fractures; the rest followed jumping exercises. The athletes mostly developed stress fractures during a period of alteration from one training session to another or during the preparation period close to the competition season. Joggers usually developped stress fractures 2-4 months after the beginning of regular training.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries* / diagnosis
  • Athletic Injuries* / etiology
  • Athletic Injuries* / therapy
  • Child
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / diagnosis
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology*
  • Fractures, Bone / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Exertion
  • Stress, Mechanical