CONDITIONS

HIP

STRESS FRACTURE

OVERVIEW

A hip stress fracture occurs due to repetitive micro-trauma to the hip joint. This type of injury can occur at any age and be serious if left untreated. Stress fractures can occur in any area of the hip and pelvis but are most common in the femoral neck.

CAUSE

Stress fractures of the hip are caused by repetitive injury to the bones of the hip joint. Stress fractures occur when trauma to the bone is not yet able to heal before the bone is re-injured. Those at risk of stress fractures are athletes or people who undergo a rapid increase in their level of activity or exercise.

SYMPTOMS

Those with a stress fracture will experience symptoms of pain in the groin or front of the hip - which usually occurs during activity or exercise. At rest, this pain may subside. If left untreated, stress fractures can become progressively worse.

TREATMENT

The treatment of a stress fracture will largely depend on the suspected severity of the fracture. The concern for a stress fracture is that the bones may become displaced, cutting off the blood supply to the bones leading to the death of the bone or hip osteonecrosis. Ignoring the pain related to a stress fracture may also lead to a complete break if the activity is continued. For this reason, if Dr Pienaar suspects a stress fracture, in mild cases, crutches and activity modification may be advised. Activity modification will be necessary for at least four weeks and may involve dynamic rest from any sport that impacts the hip joint. Thereafter, once recovered, slow re-strengthening of the lower body will be essential before returning to high-impact activity.

In more severe cases where your orthopaedic surgeon suspects the fracture is at danger of displacing, especially if the stress fracture is located on the femoral neck, surgery may be needed to stabilise the fracture. If surgery is done for a stress fracture of the hip metal screws will be used to connect the two sections of bone and stabilise the fracture to heal in the proper position. 

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