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Sports Medicine

Stress fracture?

11/17/2009

Question:

I had just finished my first marathon and was walking at work. While I was walking I felt a burn and pain in the front lower left leg. Ever since then my lower leg has had a small bump on it. It throbs while at rest and I feel slight pain in the morning. If it is a stress fracture what are there recommended days that I stop running??

Answer:

For a runner to be told to stop running for any length of time, there usually has to be a good reason. In your case, it may or may not be advisable for you to stop running for a period of time... treatment recommendations should be based on an accurate diagnosis, as can only be determined by a history and physical examination by a physician, and if necessary, imaging studies.

Stress fractures are characteristically most symptomatic/painful with activity rather than at rest, and don't typically cause "burning" pain. If this bump in your lower left leg is soft/compressible, it's unlikely to be a stress fracture, in which case it could instead be a small muscle herniation through a hole in the fascia (connective tissue covering muscle) which is normally there. Again, this may or may not pertain to you, and you are again advised to consult with your physician to determine a diagnosis, prognosis, and appropriate treatment recommendations.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University