Fractures occur when a bone breaks or cracks. Hairline fractures, also known as stress fractures, are tiny cracks in the bone. These are often caused by repeated stress, unlike other fractures, which are caused by trauma. It can be hard to know when a person has a hairline fracture as there is often not a single event to which they can attribute their injury.
Overuse or repetitive actions that put the bone under repeated strain are the most common causes of hairline fractures. Usually, this happens when a person participates in regular sporting activities. Gradually, a tiny crack appears in the bone, getting worse over time. This is more likely to occur if the person fails to rest adequately between sessions. It is possible to develop a hairline fracture as the result of a fall or accident, but this cause is less common.
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