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What is a Femoral Stress Fracture?

By K. Gierok
Updated May 17, 2024
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As the name suggests, a femoral stress fracture is a fracture that occurs in the femur due to repeated amounts of stress placed upon the bone. Typically, this condition occurs as a result of overuse, and causes high amounts of pain in the groin with movement. In order to accurately diagnosis a femoral stress fracture, a series of tests may be needed, including x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Though crutches are usually a minimum necessity for those diagnosed with a stress fracture, others may require complete bed rest or even surgery.

A femoral stress fracture is a condition in which small, hairline cracks are formed in the femur. While femoral stress fractures can occur in any part of the bone, they are most commonly found in the femoral neck. The femoral neck is the thinnest, and therefore most fragile, part of the femur, putting it at an increased risk for the development of femoral stress fractures.

The most common cause of a femoral stress fracture is overuse. Athletes such as runners, hikers, or others who put high amounts of weight on the femur without letting the bones achieve adequate recovery time are at an increased risk for the development of a femoral stress fracture. Other causes of stress fractures to the femur do exist, however, including osteoporosis and other conditions which affect bone density.

Those who experience pain that is specific to one particular area of the thigh and occurs most often when performing a specific movement may be suffering from a femoral stress fracture. In most cases, a femoral stress fracture will result in pain in the groin during movement. Additionally, pain in this region that decreases substantially upon rest may also be indicative of a stress fracture.

The most common form of diagnosis for a stress fracture to the femur is through the use of x-rays. Though in some cases, a stress fracture may not be visible on an x-ray, it can typically be used when attempting to rule out breaks, dislocations, and other similar conditions. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, a physician will also need to run through a series of questions, range of motion exercises, and other tests, such as an MRI.

Those who have been diagnosed with a femoral stress fracture must often rely on crutches for an extended period of time in order to achieve complete recovery. In more severe cases, patients may be put on bed rest. Typically, medications and compresses are also prescribed on an as-needed basis. The most complicated femoral stress fractures may require surgery in order to achieve the best results.

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