My son recently sustained a hairline fracture in his foot (it's actually the far right bone just at the pinky toe) at a football practice. He was given a stiff brace to wear and was told to get another Xray in ten days. He's really anxious about wanting to play football this year as I missed his first season last year due to my deployment to Iraq. Is there any likelihood that he'll be cleared to play again after that ten days?
I don't think so, but that's really something to discuss with your doctor. Fractures take time to heal, and ideally he would allow it to heal fully before returning to contact sports. But we do hear about athletes playing with those sorts of injuries quite frequently. I am guessing your son is in high school? If so, you might have to remind him that there is life after high school and it will be more important for him in the long run to have a functional foot than to have played football in high school. It's a frustrating situation, but he's going to have to figure out what is more important to him. He might be able to start playing at some point this season, if not the full season. Good luck.
I've always been amused by the "Hairline" bit of a fracture. Fractures are like being pregnant - either you are or aren't. A bone is either fractured or it isn't.
In kids, there are growth plates that can get injured and the xray looks normal. To have it checked again 10 days later, won't usually show anything, in that it takes bone at least 6 weeks to heal, and at least 4 weeks for it to change on xray. You may actually be dealing with a growth plate injury which is healed when it doesn't hurt anymore and there isn't anymore swelling. At that point, he could play.
At the next xray, have them show you the fracture and make them also show you the growth plate (if it hasn't yet closed). Wouldn't hurt to ask if it was a growth plate injury.
Often times, with hairline fractures that are being treated pretty liberally, x-rays are done after a short time to make sure the hairline fracture isn't separating into something more severe. You will probably not see healing for 4 weeks, especially to the untrained eye, but even if the fracture does not appear to change to you, the Dr. can detect small changes that are either good or bad signs that we can not even see. I know people who have competed for entire seasons in contact sports with small fractures, and I know people who have chosen to allow it to heal, and both are ok now. The thing with competing on an injured leg is the injury can get worse, and the pain can also prevent you from playing your best. I would suggest listening to the doctor, and asking him/her what the best course of treatment long term would be. How old is your son? I can say from experience that it is better to shoot these things in the foot (no pun intended) before it gets worse and more drastic measures have to be taken. Good Luck!