Tuesday, 23 January 2024 00:00

Managing Foot Stress Fractures

Foot stress fractures are hairline breaks in bones that are caused by repeated stress rather than a specific injury. Though tiny and difficult to detect, stress fractures can be a painful and debilitating condition. They typically occur in the lower leg, particularly in the metatarsal bones of the midfoot. They result from repetitive weight-bearing activities that exceed the capacity of muscles and tendons to absorb stress. Symptoms include pain during these types of activities, gradually becoming worse. Metatarsal stress fractures, also known as march fractures, are common among runners who rapidly change workout intensity. They also affect poorly conditioned individuals carrying heavy loads, such as newly recruited soldiers. Diagnosing foot stress fractures involves X-rays or a bone scan, as standard X-rays may not reveal the fracture until several weeks after the injury. It may be necessary to stop weight-bearing activities for up to three months. This period allows the bone to heal and regain its strength. Risk factors include high foot arches, inadequate shock-absorbing shoes, and thinning bones. For help with metatarsal foot pain that can be caused by stress fractures, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist.

Stress fractures occur when there is a tiny crack within a bone. To learn more, contact one of our podiatrists from Florida Ankle & Foot Institute. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain free and on your feet.

How Are They Caused?

Stress fractures are the result of repetitive force being placed on the bone. Since the lower leg and feet often carry most of the body’s weight, stress fractures are likely to occur in these areas. If you rush into a new exercise, you are more likely to develop a stress fracture since you are starting too much, too soon.  Pain resulting from stress fractures may go unnoticed at first, however it may start to worsen over time.

Risk Factors

  • Gender – They are more commonly found in women compared to men.
  • Foot Problems – People with unusual arches in their feet are more likely to develop stress fractures.
  • Certain Sports – Dancers, gymnasts, tennis players, runners, and basketball players are more likely to develop stress fractures.
  • Lack of Nutrients – A lack of vitamin D and calcium may weaken the bones and make you more prone to stress fractures
  • Weak Bones – Osteoporosis can weaken the bones therefore resulting in stress fractures

Stress fractures do not always heal properly, so it is important that you seek help from a podiatrist if you suspect you may have one. Ignoring your stress fracture may cause it to worsen, and you may develop chronic pain as well as additional fractures.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Tavernier, Marathon, and Key West, FL . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle

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