How does a fracture differ from a break?

While both stress fractures and “full” or “regular” breaks describe fractures in bone, they vary in terms of type and severity of the break, as well as the usual causes.

“Regular” fractures are what you normally think of when you imagine someone “breaking a bone.” They usually occur as a result of a single traumatic injury, causing instant, severe pain. There are many different types of breaks; depending on severity, the bone may be cracked, cleanly split, or even shattered, and the bones may remain in place (stable fracture), be displaced, or even pierce the skin (open compound fracture).

Stress fractures are different. While they do represent cracks in bone, they’re typically very small, hairline fractures in weight-bearing areas. Rather than being caused by a single injury, they usually develop over time due to overuse and stress, and lead to an aching pain the worsens with activity and may improve with rest.

Dr. Keith McSpadden and the staff at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute have experiencing helping patients with both types of injuries, and will be happy to help you, too. Call us at 512-593-2949 for sports injury care for your feet and ankles, or request an appointment online.