For Parents Lower leg/foot injury-need advice

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Aug 3, 2007
My gymie has had a severe problem with a pain in her lower leg, almost to the foot. It only hurts her when she tumbles and pounds on it in any way, or vaults. When she isn't in the gym, it's fine. She was x-rayed but nothing showed up. Doc suggested an MRI to see if it's a stress fracture but we aren't going to have that done due to our insurance coverage. Has anyone's dd had a stress fracture in the lower leg area? If so, how was it treated? I was told she would just have to stay off of it for awhile. My thought is that if it hurts, we don't need an MRI to tell her to stay off of it. We aren't sure what to do, as she wants to tough it out and finish the season, which is only a few more weeks. How long does a stress fracture take to heal if that's what it is?


Do you think that it could be something like shin splints? If that is a possibility than it is not as severe. Here is some info that I copied and pasted from a website;
If pain is severe or you suspect a stress fracture, contact your physician for an examination. After a medical history and examination, he or she may suggest x-rays to detect any minute cracks in the shin - the sign of a stress fracture.

An important injury to distinguish from shin splints is a stress fracture (a small hairline crack in the shinbone) which develops slowly after repeated stress and impact to the leg. Symptoms develop during exercise and include a sudden, burning pain. Unlike other forms of shin splints where pain is spread out over the shin, you can pinpoint the spot from which the pain of a stress fracture is emanating. In mild to moderate cases, the pain subsides when exercise ends, and will heal completely with adequate rest in a month or so.

At the first sign of pain in the shins, stop your activity. Trying to exercise through the soreness will only aggravate the condition and cause it to worsen.

Immediately massage the area with ice to reduce inflammation and irritation. The ice acts like a quick-acting, anti-inflammatory medication.

For pain relief and help to decrease the swelling, your physician may suggest taking ibuprofen, as directed.

Do not apply heat to the area. Shin splints are an inflammatory condition, and heat will only irritate the area even more.
Healing time can be as little as two to three weeks (if you cut back on your exercise and begin aggressive self-help measures), but in some cases, recovery can take as long as 12 to 14 weeks before pain subsides.

Don't know if this info will help you in anyway, but I thought that it would give something else to consider besides a stress fracture. Also here is the treatment recommendations for stress fractures:
All stress fractures (conservative therapy) Modified rest for six to eight weeks (or until pain-free for two to three weeks); activities of daily living and limited walking are permitted Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs Cryotherapy Stretching and flexibility exercises Cross-training (non-weight-bearing exercise) Tibial stress fractures Aircast splinting if more severe symptoms or if not resolved with conservative treatment Casting for mid-shaft fractures until pain-free and radiographic evidence of healing Surgery (intramedullary nailing and/or grafting) if no improvement after six months of treatment (or for certain elite athletes) Metatarsal stress fractures Wood-soled shoe or casting for four to six weeks Special attention should be given to fifth metatarsal fractures to prevent nonunion Fibula stress fractures Usually heal in four to six weeks with conservative therapy and rarely require surgery Navicular stress fractures Six weeks of short leg non-weight-bearing cast, followed by four to six weeks of transitional weight-bearing cast Gradual return to full weight bearing with a semirigid shoe Intramedullary nailing if nonunion or delayed union Return to sport in 16 to 20 weeks Femoral stress fractures Conservative therapy for compression fractures (return to sport in eight to 14 weeks) Internal fixation for tension-type fractures.I am in no way a health professional and all of this information is gained from the internet.
Aug 3, 2007
Gymnellie- Thank you so much for your response. I am certain, as well as her trainer, that it's a stress fracture because even though it's in her shin, she can pinpoint the exact spot. Now, it's hurting on the other leg in the same spot. She takes a pen and draws a circle around the sport each night so that I can ice massage it once an hour. I read your post and I can't believe there are so many types of stress fractures and they all have a different treatment. She's trying to make it through the last two weeks of her season but I think now she has to cut out floor altogether because the pounding from tumbling is too much. It was extremely painful to watch last night as it was obvious that she was hurting. Bars and beam do not bother her as much. She could suck it up and pull a nice vault even through the pain but it's hard that vault comes after floor, which does her in. Now I'm not sure what to do since we aren't doing the MRI (due to insurance coverage). I suppose she should just take a break and not do anything for awhile. Thanks again for your research.


Sep 9, 2007
Did you have an orthopedist look at the x-rays? My daughter and a teammate both had injuries that were not recognized by their pediatrition. However, the orthopedist read the x-rays differently. My dd's growth plate had pulled away from the bone, and she was placed in a boot for a month.


might be tendonitis. My daughter had that and basically was advised by MD to either stay off it or work through the pain (she chose the later).
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