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Ignoring a Hairline Fracture May Lead to a More Serious Fracture (and More Pain!)

When it comes to protecting itself, your body is fairly good at letting you know when something’s wrong. And pain is usually the messaging tool of choice, thanks to your extensive nervous system.

But all too often, you ignore the messaging and carry on because life is busy and you can’t afford a timeout, or so you tell yourself. While we admire your grit, if you ignore pain in your musculoskeletal system, you run the risk of developing larger problems that can force you into an extended timeout, which is especially true of hairline fractures.

At our practice, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nabil Ebraheim helps patients overcome a wide range of orthopedic issues, from failing joints to fractures. While Dr. Ebraheim is a highly skilled surgeon, we prefer that you take the necessary steps to avoid surgery when they’re available — and they’re almost always available with hairline fractures.

Here’s a look at what a hairline fracture is and why ignoring it may lead to far larger problems (and pain) down the road.

Small, but mighty

A hairline fracture, as the name implies, is a very small crack in one of your bones. These types of fractures are also called stress fractures because they largely develop due to overuse or repetitive stress.

Hairline fractures are common injuries among the more active population and usually develop in the weight-bearing bones in your lower legs, ankles, and feet, including your:

The signs of a hairline fracture include:

We’re going to focus on this first symptom in order to underscore something very important — any time your body is in pain, it’s trying to tell you that something is wrong. If you ignore this plea, you do so at your own peril, as the condition can deteriorate.

In fact, think of your hairline fracture like a crack in your windshield. It starts out innocently enough, but as you continue to use the vehicle, bouncing over rough roads, the crack can spread, overtaking your windshield and threatening to shatter.

Getting help

At the first signs of a problem, come and see us so we can perform a complete evaluation of the problem. This likely includes advanced imaging to get a closer look at your internal structures.

If we identify a hairline fracture, we may immobilize the area to allow time for the bone to heal and to contain the damage. We may also supply you with medications to address any pain or inflammation.

Taking early action when it comes to hairline fractures preserves your ability to remain active far into the future. If you suspect you may have a hairline or stress fracture, contact our office in Toledo, Ohio.

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