Introduction: Stress fractures occur as a result of repeatedly making the same movement in a specific region, which can lead to fatigue and imbalance between osteoblast and osteoclast activity, thus favouring bone breakage. Stress fractures in military recruits causes long periods of absence from training and economic losses. Aim: The purpose of this prospective study was to determine the incidence and distribution of stress fracture in military recruits and present evidence-based concepts to provide with an overview of diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Materials and Methods: 284 military recruits at a peripheral military hospital who had presented with symptoms of pain, swelling or deformity of lower limb were studied over a period of 1 year. All of them with clinical and radiological diagnosis of Stress fracture were hospitalised and treated conservatively for a week followed by 4 weeks of sick leave and thereafter observed for 6-12 weeks depending upon the severity of their symptoms wherein stress fracture rehabilitation was provided in a phased manner. Results: 284 recruits had reported with pain, swelling, deformity of lower limb at the end of physical activity with a focal point of tenderness. The average age of the patients with Stress fracture was 20 years. The incidence of Stress fracture reached maximum during 11-20 weeks of the training schedule. Overall, the most common sites of bone injuries were the tibia (52.11%), fibula (23.59%), femur shaft (9.50%), femur neck (7.74%)and metatarsals (7.04%). Most fractures healed in an average period of 5 weeks. Most individuals returned to their full activity in an average period of 18 weeks. Conclusion: The study provides evidence that Stress fracture among military recruits occur frequently during their training period. To prevent stress fractures, modifiable risk factors must be identified and a proactive approach should be adopted which helps recruits withstand intense physical activity.
Corresponding Author: Gurmeet Singh Sarla