If you have a stress fracture, how long could it take to heal, and what can you do to protect it? At what point should a patient worry that the bone isn’t healing like it should? In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I discuss healing of a stress fracture in the tibia and how you can adjust activities to help it heal.
Heidi in Davidson, NC asks:
I am a runner and was diagnosed with a proximal (close to the knee) tibial stress fracture by MRI. I have had symptoms for over a year. I stopped running because it hurt. I have followed all precautions. I don’t bend past 90, no kneeling, and obviously no running, jumping, etc. That pain has improved somewhat, but it is still there with specific activities. 10 weeks after diagnosis, I’m concerned that it isn’t healing. Is there a time limit on this kind of healing? After this long should I just consider surgery? I feel like my current doctor is being too conservative, and I just want to get healed and back to normal routine.
The tibial plateau is the top of the tibia (shin bone) just below the knee. Stress fractures can occur in this area in running athletes and active people. Usually rest or modifying activities is enough to get this bone to heal.
Most stress fractures heal in 6 to 12 weeks, but every patient is different. Some stress fractures, although not generally tibial plateau stress fractures, are prone to poor healing. For those stress fractures, completely avoidance of weight on the leg and even surgery can be needed.
In this video, I discuss the treatment and time frames for healing for different stress fractures.
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