Scientists have developed a prototype bandage that could detect hidden fractures once a person wears it.
The new bandage, developed by Ozan Akkus and colleagues at Purdue University in Indiana, contain sensors which pick up slight changes in sound waves created by tiny cracks in damaged bones, reported the online edition of Daily Mail.
They then sound an alarm, warning the patient to rest so that the injured bone is given a chance to heal properly.
The new high-tech bandage could be worn by people at risk of stress fractures - like soldiers, athletes, dancers and joggers - to warn them in time to prevent a major injury.
"The goal is to create a wearable device that would alert someone when a stress fracture was imminent, so they could stop rigorous physical activity long enough for the bone to mend," Akkus said.
Stress fractures are a common injury among professional athletes, as well as in amateurs who exercise too much. Runners are particularly at risk because jogging several times a week puts the same bones, usually those in the shin, under repeated pressure.