Hairline Fracture in the Ankle

A hairline fracture or a stress fracture is not instantly obvious like the other kinds of breaks. Stress fractures are small cracks in bones that happen when the muscles are overly tired and when they are incapable of absorbing the shock of the constant impact. When this occurs, the forces are moved to the bones, creating stress fractures. Stress fractures are common in the weight bearing bones of the ankle, foot and shin.

Causes of Hairline Fracture

 The core cause of stress fractures is overuse. These are particularly common in the athletes who participate in high impact sporting events like long distance running, basketball, tennis and gymnastics. This can also occur to a person leading a sedentary lifestyle who suddenly starts picking up physical activities, for instance, suddenly spending lots of time walking round the city or beginning to run. This happens since the muscles are not used to or trained to absorb the repeated shocks. Teenagers still growing are prone to this condition since their bones have not fully hardened. People with weak bones from disorders like osteoporosis are also at a very great risk of this condition.

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External factors can also lead to the stress fractures. They include poor technique or training when carrying out exercises. Poor equipment of exercising such as footwear can cause stress fractures, like shoes with worn-out cushioning or those without sufficient arch support or foot.

Hairline fracture in the ankle – symptoms

 Stress fractures are linked to gradual pain which increases in the course of weight bearing activities. The pain can decrease when an individual rests or can even go away when the person is not engaging in activities that lead to the pain such as jumping, running or walking. Other symptoms include:

  • Bruising as a result of hairline fracture of the ankle
  • Tenderness or pain
  • Limited mobility
  • Numbness in the affected area
  • Swelling in the affected area

Hairline fractures normally are as a result of constant or repeated strain on the bone. Mostly, the stress fractures happen in the feet or legs, whereby the bones are needed to support the weight of the body. The athletes often put their bodies under high strain and are particularly vulnerable to the hairline fractures. Over time, the stress ion bones can lead to the appearing of thin cracks. At first, the symptoms of hairline fractures can be very mild and the patients normally ignore them. With increased stress, the hairline fractures become pronounced and the signs become more austere.

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Swelling and pain are the basic symptoms of hairline fractures. These signs are normally localized or centered on the fracture site. The severity of the symptoms is dependent on the amount of pressure asserted on the fracture. Exercises will cause the swelling and pain to increase, but with rest the symptoms will ease.

Continued strain will make the condition worse. Over time, the strain or stress will make the fracture grow. Therefore, less exertion will be needed prior to the fracture symptoms starting to flare up.



The doctor will mostly recommend that you discontinue the activity causing the pin and advice wearing the walking boots or cold therapy based on the severity of the stress fracture.

Resting: No matter the kind of fracture you are suffering, begin with lots of rest. Going on with the activity leading to the stress can lead to total breaking or fracture.

Cold therapy: This process entails using cold compresses and ice packs. Ice should be applied to the injured place to reduce swelling and pain.

Anti-inflammatory medicines: These medications include aspirin and ibuprofen and must be used so as to alleviate the pain though they can prevent bone healing. A physician should advise on the intake of medication.

Hairline Fracture in Ankle – Healing Time

Stress fractures normally take about 8 weeks to heal and it is advisable that in this period one switches to non-weight activities like biking and swimming. Consult the doctor about the most appropriate activities to aid quick recovery.

Wearing ankle braces like the Aircast air-stirrup can also aid in the healing process of the stress fracture as well as hinder any form of re-injury. The leg braces are recommended by most medical professionals and physicians for the leg fractures. Some other kinds of stress fractures can require a medical walking boot or cast since the bones normally take longer to heal completely.

For the grave stress fractures, surgery will be needed. A fastener will be installed in the bones so as to hold them together as they heal. Nonetheless, many fractures will heal all on their own with time and rest, and surgery is usually not needed.


Preventing Hairline Fractures

 Stress fractures can be prevented through proper technique and training. This aids in preventing bone loss and muscle fatigue. Consuming meals rich in Vitamin D and calcium can also aid in building up the strength of bones.

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