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February 19, 1982

Stress Fractures in Runners

JAMA. 1982;247(7):1039-1041. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320320067039

IT IS estimated that several million Americans run for fitness and recreation. This segment of our population, which runs between one and several miles daily, includes every age group and people in various stages of physical condition. These persons often incur a variety of musculoskeletal disorders, eg, muscle strains, ligamentous abnormalities, and stress fractures.

Stress fractures result from repetitive muscular action on a bone that generally is not accustomed to that action.1 In most instances, the activity is new or more vigorous than usual for the individual. However, occasionally, stress fractures will develop even in conditioned athletes.

Although running is a common activity in this country, an apparent lack of recognition by primary care physicians exists concerning the frequency of stress fractures in runners. The purpose of this article is to alert the clinician to this condition and to describe its clinical and radiological features.

Clinical Features  The clinical