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4 Things Runners Need to Know about Femoral Neck Stress Fractures

Health & Medical Blog

Running is a popular way to stay in shape, but if you're not careful, you can develop stress fractures such as femoral neck fractures. The femoral neck is one of the uppermost portions of your femur and makes up part of your hip joint. Here are four things you need to know about this painful sports injury.

How does this injury occur?

Femoral neck fractures occur in response to the large amount of force put on the bone while you're running. During running, your femoral neck bone may be subjected to loads in excess of three times your body weight. That's a lot of weight, and if you're running long distances, the bone is under a lot of stress for a long period of time. This stress allows tiny fractures to develop in your femoral neck bone.

The main risk factors for this injury are training errors. Examples of these training errors include rapidly increasing your mileage, not allowing yourself time to rest between workouts, or introducing new athletic activities to your routine. It's important to increase your mileage slowly and take adequate rest days to allow your bone to repair itself from the stress of running.

What are the signs of femoral neck fractures?

If you develop a stress fracture in your femoral neck bone, you will feel pain within your hip joint. Like other stress fractures, the pain will progress slowly; at first, you may feel only a mild ache in your hip joints at the end of a run, but as you continue running, the pain in your hip will get worse. Eventually, your hip will hurt all the time, even when you're sitting or lying down.

Are femoral neck fractures common?

Femoral neck fractures are an uncommon injury. One study reported that they only make up between 5% and 10% of all stress fractures. Athletes, including runners, are more likely to develop femoral neck fractures than the non-athletes are.

How are these fractures treated?

If you develop a femoral neck fracture, you will need to allow the bone to rest and heal. You may be told to completely avoid weight-bearing activities until you heal; this can take as long as eight weeks. You will need to use crutches to get around during this time.

Once you're cleared to start putting weight on the affected leg, you will need to go to physiotherapy. Your physiotherapist will use strengthening exercises to help regain the lost strength in the affected leg. Your physiotherapist will have you gradually start to put weight on the affected leg again, and once you can do that without pain, you will be allowed to start running again.

If you are a runner with a sore hip, see your doctor right away because you may have a femoral neck fracture. For further information or help, contact a representative from an establishment like Nick Roselli Occupational Therapy.


14 October 2015