Fractures are any kind of break in a bone. Stress fractures specifically are cracks most often caused by overdoing an activity. Just touching a fracture can send you to the moon in pain. If you think you have a stress fracture, or any fracture, see your doctor. While a stress fractures may not show up on an X-Ray for 10 to 14 days, an MRI can spot one earlier. Treatment is usually physical therapy and possibly a brace or cast to keep weight off the area while it heals, which usually takes six to eight weeks.
How do broken bones heal? Bones are flexible enough to give a bit when physical force is applied, but if that force is too great, they’ll snap like a plastic ruler bent too far. Luckily, they also repair themselves naturally and even better with a cast. 1. Immediately after a fracture occurs, a blood clot and callus form around it. 2. New threads of bone cells start to grow on both sides of the fracture line toward one another. 3. Eventually the fracture closes up and the callus is absorbed by the new cells. This process may take from six weeks to a year.
First aid for breaks. If you think you or someone you’re with has a broken bone, follow these four steps if you can and head to the ER. 1. Stop any bleeding. Make a tourniquet and tie it above the fracture. 2. Immobilize the injured area. Don’t try to realign the bone or push a bone that’s sticking out back in. If possible protect it by creating a makeshift splint: place rolled up newspaper or strips of wood along the limb then tie them on with a belt or fabric. 3. Wrap ice in a towel and apply to the area to reduce pain and inflammation. 4. If you feel faint, lie down with your head slightly lower than your torso.