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Sports Injury Guide: The Common Types of Sports Injuries

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Updated May 27, 2006

7 of 10

Part 7 of 10 - Bone Fractures: Acute Fractures Vs. Stress Fractures

Bone Fractures

A fracture is a break in the bone that can occur from either a quick, one-time injury to the bone (acute fracture) or from repeated stress to the bone over time (stress fracture).

Acute Fractures

Acute fractures can be simple (a clean break with little damage to the surrounding tissue) or compound (a break in which the bone pierces the skin with little damage to the surrounding tissue). Most acute fractures are emergencies. One that breaks the skin is especially dangerous because there is a high risk of infection.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures occur largely in the feet and legs and are common in sports that require repetitive impact, primarily running/jumping sports such as gymnastics or track and field.

Running creates forces two to three times a person's body weight on the lower limbs. The most common symptom of a stress fracture is pain at the site that worsens with weight-bearing activity. Tenderness and swelling often accompany the pain.

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