A hip stress fracture involves the ball of the ball-and-socket hip joint. It is considered a serious injury to the bone due to overuse, and occurs for one of three reasons: high-energy injury, stress injuries or pathologic injury. Stress fractures occur when the hip bone experiences repetitive micro-trauma. The hip bone is broken due to significant force (i.e. falls, motor vehicular accidents and sporting events) on the bone. A pathologic fracture is due to a problem that abnormally weakens the bone. Some causes of abnormal bone weakness may include osteoporosis, tumors and even infections.
Bone constantly goes through a cycle of turnover where old bone is reabsorbed, and new bone created. If the bone cannot keep up during this process it can fracture. Proper bone alignment is maintained during a stress fracture, thus not visible at times on a regular x-ray. Displaced hip bones are concerning due to the delicate blood supply to the hip bone. Symptoms of a stress fracture usually show after a recent increase in activity like increased running mileage. An x-ray can be performed if a hip stress fracture is suspected, but some x-rays may appear normal. If this happens and injury is still suspected, a MRI or bone scan should be obtained.
Treatment available for hip stress fractures include modification of your activity levels, or discontinuation, to reduce pain and discomfort. Pain medication may not be used because they tend to hide important symptoms. Some hip stress fractures heal without surgery, but it may be needed if there’s concern that the fracture will displace.
Medical Disclaimer: Always consult your doctor for any concerns, medical opinion and/or treatment.
Written by: Jamacia Magee, FizzNiche Staff Writer