Micro Fracture Treatment | Micro Bone Fracture Surgery | Healing Time, Recovery, Causes, Symptoms and More Facts
As long as we are alive, each of our bone can repair itself by replacing old and damaged bone tissues that have been broken down. We encounter stress in our everyday living but because we tend to rest our bodies once we are tired, fatigued and burned out, the muscles in our bodies as well as the structures in our bones can replenish themselves so that they remain balanced and healthy.
However, this balance can be disturbed with physical stress brought about by physical training and when we subject our bones to stress and the bones cannot handle the repeated stress, micro fractures in the bones could result. These are small cracks in the bones that resulted from physically straining the body repeatedly and cause very small cracks on the bones that are not even detectable by x-rays.
Types of Micro fractures
The most affected part of micro fractures are the bones that are very prone to bone stress and these bones are mainly the femoral bones, tibial bones and the knee bones. Femoral micro fractures are usually the result when the person usually runs for longer periods of time or bend his legs repeatedly that it became the habit of the person to put his legs under stress while lacking leg rest. Gymnasts, runners, mountain climbers are the people who are mostly affected by femoral bone micro fractures. Tibial micro fractures are common on dancers, military trainees, soccer players, and runners. These are the people who use their lower legs to power up their speed and put utmost pressure on the tibia.
Another common part of the leg that is prone to micro fracture is the kneecap. Because this is a large and wide bone that absorbs all the tension coming from the lower and upper leg, the knee is the most vulnerable part of the leg that can have bone stress fracture and micro fracture. Usually micro fractures are undetectable until the time the leg will become weak and suffer suddenly from fracture even without an actual impact to the bone.
Diagnosis of Micro fracture
Micro fractures, as we have said, are almost undetectable even by x-rays so the person who has it will speculate what is wrong with his foot when it is not fractured but feels fractured because it is weak. This is because bone minerals can seep out slowly without the person knowing it. When the x-ray cannot be able to show cracks on the bone, a CT scan or an MRI could be recommended so that even the slightest cracks could be seen on the bone. However, if ever these methods could not possibly find the culprit then bone scanning could be the last result. This method will determine the density of the bone so that the whole structure of the bone inside and out can be determined.
Micro fractures are very tiny fractures that are caused by force that is applied to the bone. Clearly stated, when the force that is applied on the leg exceeds the normal strength of the bone, this can create small fractures on the bone where most of the stresses go. Running, dancing, doing gymnastics, and military training are examples of strenuous activities which can cause micro fractures. The result of these activities is the weakening of the bone structure that can result to tiny bone breakage. When micro fractures exist, the rate of bone formation which is called osteoblasts will be outpaced by the osteoclastic destruction of bones. Since the normal formation of bone is altered, the bones can become weakened so the bone is put to more strain and fractures.
The common indicators of microfractures are:
• Full thickness defect in the weight bearing area that is between the femur and tibia or sometimes the loss of cartilage on the area where there is contact of the patella.
• Incomplete or unstable cartilage covering the bone.
• Aligned knee but showing symptoms of degenerative changes.
Micro fracture Treatment
Today, there is what we call microfracture surgery, which is called the articular cartilage repair surgical techniques. It creates small fractures in the underlying bone so that new cartilage will grow from there. This technique was initially tried with number of professional athletes which include prominent athletes in the NBA, NHL and NFL and so far the result has been beneficial to them.
The micro fracture surgery that is involved here can only take around 30 minutes although in some cases it can last up to 90 minutes for a thorough checkup and treatment. This treatment is considered almost non-invasive and has significant recovery time than subjecting the person to knee replacement or arthroplasty. More orthopedic surgeons are now using this method with increasing frequency. One of the great advantages of micro fracture surgery is that it can eliminate around 75 to 80 percent of the chronic pain that is felt on the micro fracture knee and can improve the athlete’s performance.
The best prevention for micro fractures is rest. If there are errors in the training or excessive use of the legs, this must be stopped especially if the persons feel a weakening of their knees or legs and pain on the knees are becoming chronic. Remember that strenuous activities such as running repeatedly on hard surface or uphill are also some of the contributors for micro fractures. If there is pain and weakening of the injured part, you must rest your legs for sometime but better consult your physician about what you feel on your leg.
When to Call A Doctor
When pain becomes chronic and the weakening of the knees becomes constant then it is time to visit your physician for a complete bone diagnosis. If the physician finds nothing wrong with your leg or knee then ask for a bone scan or other procedures. If you feel there is something wrong with your leg then there is really something wrong with your leg but you still need to rest it so that if strain is the culprit then there would be no problem.