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Stress Fractures

Sustaining a stress fracture can cause chronic pain, recurrent fractures, and decreased bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis. Improper or incomplete healing may cause long-term discomfort and instability in the affected area, impacting mobility and physical activity levels. Additionally, stress fractures can predispose individuals to arthritis in nearby joints due to altered biomechanics and persistent stress on the surrounding structures.

Stress fracture X-ray

Helpful Information

A stress fracture is a small, hairline crack in a bone caused by repetitive stress or overuse, rather than a single traumatic event. Common in weight-bearing bones like those in the foot and lower leg, stress fractures result from activities such as running, jumping, or prolonged standing. Symptoms include pain that worsens with activity and subsides with rest, swelling, and tenderness at the fracture site. Early diagnosis and treatment, often involving rest and reduced activity, are crucial to prevent further injury and allow proper healing. Stress fractures can occur due to workplace negligence. When this happens, it’s possible to bring a personal injury compensation claim.

What are the most common causes of stress fractures?

The most common causes of stress fractures are repetitive activities that overload the bones, such as running, jumping, and marching. They frequently occur in athletes, military recruits, and individuals with a sudden increase in physical activity intensity or duration. Poor conditioning, improper training techniques, and inadequate footwear can contribute to stress fractures. High-impact sports and activities on hard surfaces, as well as anatomical abnormalities like flat feet or high arches, further elevate the risk of developing stress fractures.

In which bones are stress fractures most often seen?

Stress fractures are most often seen in the weight-bearing bones of the lower extremities. Common sites include the tibia (shinbone), metatarsals (bones in the foot), and the fibula (calf bone). They also frequently occur in the bones of the midfoot, such as the navicular and the calcaneus (heel bone). Less commonly, stress fractures can affect the femur (thigh bone) and the pelvis.

What sort of workplace scenarios might lead to a stress fracture?

Workplace scenarios that might lead to a stress fracture include jobs requiring prolonged standing, repetitive walking, or heavy lifting, particularly on hard surfaces. Occupations such as construction work, factory work, and healthcare, where employees frequently move or stand for long hours, are at higher risk. Jobs involving repetitive motion or impact, such as postal delivery, warehouse work, and military training, can also contribute to stress fractures. Poor ergonomics, inadequate footwear, and insufficient rest breaks further elevate the risk of developing stress fractures in these environments.

What should employers do to minimise the risk of this injury?

Employers should minimise the risk of stress fractures by providing proper ergonomic training and ensuring employees have access to supportive footwear. Implementing job rotation and scheduled breaks can reduce repetitive stress on specific bones. Encouraging employees to maintain overall fitness and bone health through wellness programmes is also beneficial. Workplaces should be designed with cushioned flooring to lessen impact, and tasks should be structured to avoid excessive repetitive movements. Providing early intervention for signs of overuse injuries and fostering a culture that prioritises health and safety are crucial preventive measures.

In what circumstances can I bring a compensation claim?

You can bring a claim if you sustain a stress fracture due to unsafe working conditions, inadequate training, or lack of proper equipment provided by your employer. Claims are valid if the injury resulted from employer negligence, such as failing to address known hazards or ignoring ergonomic standards. You may also claim if your employer did not offer sufficient breaks, forced excessive repetitive tasks, or provided inadequate footwear. To pursue a claim, you must demonstrate that the injury occurred during employment and was directly caused by these unsafe conditions or practices.

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wears multiple hats, not only as the managing partner of one of Ireland’s leading law firms, but also as an author, speaker and an acknowledged expert in client service, innovation and marketing.

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is a seasoned solicitor with almost 20 years of experience, specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims, focusing particularly on high-value compensation cases. His extensive litigation experience spans Circuit Court, High Court and Supreme Court levels.

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