What Are Insufficiency Fractures?

Is an insufficiency fracture the same as a pathological fracture?

An “insufficiency fracture” is produced by normal or physiological stress applied to bone with deficient elastic resistance.

Fatigue and insufficiency fractures occur most frequently in the weight-bearing bones.

The term “pathologic fracture” should be limited to any fracture in bone weakened by tumor..

What is an insufficiency fracture of the spine?

Insufficiency fractures are a type of stress fracture, which are the result of normal stresses on abnormal bone. Looser zones are also a type of insufficiency fracture.

Can Stress fractures cause arthritis?

In patients with long standing rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatoid disorders, stress fractures and insufficiency fractures are not uncommon. The cause may be osteoporosis due to rheumatoid arthritis, corticosteroid therapy, joint stiffness, and deformity of the joints caused by the inflammatory process.

Is a compound fracture worse than a break?

Compound fractures are more serious than simple fractures. They can be more painful, require additional treatments, and take longer to heal. Most compound fractures require surgical intervention during treatment, where the doctors will repair the fracture in the bone.

What is a pelvic insufficiency fracture?

An insufficiency fracture of the pelvis occurs when a thin, weakened bone is trying to carry the normal load of the body. Because the bone is thin and weak from osteoporosis, it is prone to fracture.

What is knee insufficiency fracture?

The term insufficiency fracture implies bone that is inadequate to sustain a force or repeated forces that would be within the physiologic limits of normal bone. The term insufficiency fracture is often applied to subchondral bone changes seen on knee magnetic resonance images (MRIs) (Figure 1).

What is considered a traumatic fracture?

A traumatic fracture is caused by some type of accident, fall, or other kind of force. For example, a traumatic fracture can occur during a motor vehicle accident or when a person is struck with a heavy object. A pathologic fracture is a broken bone caused by disease, such as osteoporosis or cancer.

Is a comminuted fracture considered traumatic?

A comminuted fracture is a break or splinter of the bone into more than two fragments. Since considerable force and energy is required to fragment bone, fractures of this degree occur after high-impact trauma such as in vehicular accidents.

How are insufficiency fractures treated?

The majority of sacral insufficiency fractures are treated conservatively. Bed rest, pain medication, treatment for underlying osteoporosis followed by a return to normal activities over a periods of months result in the recovery of the vast majority of patients17,19).

What is an insufficiency?

A stress or insufficiency fracture is a crack in a bone that occurs without a definite injury. It occurs as result of repetitive activity as opposed to a single traumatic event that causes a more traditional break or fracture. They are much more common in the lower extremity as these bones are considered weightbearing.

Do insufficiency fractures heal?

Pelvic insufficiency fractures may go on to nonunion after both operative and nonoperative treatment. Mears and Velyvis60 reported on a case series of 44 nonunions treated with in situ fixation. Of these, 36 (82%) healed after in situ fixation and 7 of the 8 healed after additional surgery.

How long does it take for a sacral insufficiency fracture to heal?

Healing should occur in six to 12 months. If the fracture heals properly, you should be able to return to your usual activities. Treating osteoporosis is crucial in an attempt to decrease the risk of another insufficiency fracture.