Do you suspect that you have a stress fracture in your foot?
If you’re feeling pain when not at rest and have been participating in new activities that your legs and feet might not be used to, you may indeed have a stress fracture.
Let’s take a look at the stress fracture foot guide below to see what this issue is all about.
What exactly is a stress fracture?
A stress fracture in your foot means that a small crack has occurred in one of your foot bones.
With 26 bones in each foot, it is not uncommon for one of them to become fractured at some point in your life.
There are many symptoms associated with a stress fracture, such as swelling and tenderness. However, the most common symptom is pain.
What causes a stress fracture?
Stress fractures are primarily caused by overuse of your foot – whether it is from sports, exercise that you don’t typically do, or being on your feet too much at work. They can even be caused by wearing poor-fitting shoes too often.
High impact sports are one of the most common causes of stress fractures. These sports include running, basketball, and other activities which cause you to jump frequently. The more your feet hit the ground repeatedly, the higher risk you have of hurting yourself.
Weak bones from osteoporosis also cause a risk of stress fractures. Soft bones of an osteoporosis sufferer can fracture easily with just a simple change of activity. Your doctor can prescribe medication for stress fractures if you have severe osteoporosis.
How can you tell if you have a stress fracture?
Stress fractures are diagnosed by a foot exam, often including an X-ray. In the event that the fracture is very small, it may not show up on an X-ray. Your podiatrist may then order a CT scan, a nuclear bone scan or an MRI to more closely examine what is going on.
What treatments are available?
There are several treatment options available for stress fractures. The first step to treating the issue is to rest the problem foot. This includes stopping the activity that caused the fracture for at least six weeks, if not longer. Instead of high impact exercises, your podiatrist may recommend that you swim, bike or use an elliptical machine. These activities allow you to get exercise without putting much strain on your feet.
Your podiatrist may also suggest that you change the type of shoes that you wear, possibly recommending stiff shoe inserts for additional support. In more serious cases, a cast or crutches may be prescribed. Your podiatrist may also recommend taking calcium and vitamin D supplements to help strengthen your bones.
Although most stress fractures heal using these methods, there are severe instances when surgery is required. These situations occur when the fracture fails to heal on its own. Surgeons will then need to secure the bone by using screws or graft the bone.
What to do next?
The best thing to do if you think you have a stress fracture is to visit a podiatrist. He or she can examine your foot and determine the best way to set you on the path of healing.
If you would like to schedule an appointment to see one of the podiatrists at The Beltsville Foot and Ankle Center you can reach us at 301-937-5666 or simply fill out the form on the top right of this page.