Fractures can occur over the outside or inside of the leg. Signs and symptoms include pain, swelling, and bony deformities. An X-Ray is required, and “setting” the bone (a reduction) is necessary for healing. At times, an open reduction surgery is needed with use of plates and screws to stabilize the fracture.
Stress fractures result from repetitive loads through the foot, ankle, leg which are typically the result of overuse. They are very common in runners and female athletes. Common areas for a stress fracture to occur are the lower leg and metatarsals in runners, calcaneus, talus, and the big toe. Signs and symptoms include pain and point tenderness as well as relief with rest. X-Rays do not always show a stress fracture and MRI’s and bone scans can be helpful in their determination. Most stress fractures heal with rest, immobilization, and activity modification (such as cross-training). Wearing good shoes and avoiding high-impact workouts can help the healing process also.
Gastrocnemius/calf muscle strains occur commonly with quick sprints during running. A muscle strain will usually have a “bulge” with localized tenderness, especially in the back of the leg over the inner part with this particular muscle strain. Walking, going down stairs, and raising the heel off the ground will all aggravate a calf muscle strain.