Femoral Neck Stress Fracture

A stress fracture of the upper thigh bone or femoral neck is the result of repetitive stress from weight-bearing activity.  The stress that is applied to the bone during activity causes breakdown or absorption of the bone.  Normally the bone is able to repair itself, but with excessive activity, the rate of bone absorption exceeds the rate of repair, resulting in a stress fracture.

Stress fractures of the femoral neck occur most commonly in long distance runners.  There is an increased risk of this injury in females, especially those with the female athlete triad which includes disordered eating (inadequate calories), menstrual irregularities, and osteoporosis.

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Symptoms

Individuals with a femoral neck stress fracture usually have groin pain and a limping gait. Hip motion is decreased and painful.  There may be tenderness of the lateral hip or greater trochanter.

Treatment

Plain radiographs may show the fracture. Sometimes an MRI is needed to confirm the fracture. Treatment of a femoral stress fracture is non-weight bearing and possible surgery.