The Three R’s of Stress Fractures

Denver has its share of skyscrapers with glass windows, and its share of sunshine, too. Who knew the two could combine to result in stress fractures of the thermal panes? Something about the pattern of shade and sun causes the outer of the edges to stay cooler, and they end up with tiny fissures, threatening the integrity of the structure.

In your body, hairline cracks occur not by variations in heat, but from overdoing certain activities. Your bones, like any other tissue, need time to recover and repair themselves after being stressed. If you don’t give them the rest they require, they give in to the pressure and form surface cracks that can be painful and threaten the integrity of your skeletal structure.

Risky Behavior

X Ray of Stress Fractures in FeetCertain activities increase your chances of sustaining stress fractures. Running, jumping, and landing are a few, and they occur in many sports such as track and field, basketball, soccer, football, and so on. The force from pushing off while skating and skiing can also cause stress on your lower limbs and you could end up with surface cracks in your leg or foot bones from them, too.

You don’t need to be an athlete to risk foot pain from this injury. Members of the armed forces who endure extreme training regimens are highly susceptible, and so are ballet dancers. Conditions like osteoporosis, which weaken your bones, and high, rigid foot arches are also factors that increase risk. Even improper technique for your activity, or poor footwear, can increase your chances of developing these small cracks in your bones.

Relevant Remedies

There are several symptoms associated with stress fractures in your feet. You will notice pain that comes on gradually, feels worse while you are active, and usually disappears while resting.  The top or outside of the foot may be swollen, and bruising can also occur. Alleviating these symptoms and allowing the fracture to heal are the main goals of treatment. Start by keeping weight off the limb until you come in to Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center for a diagnosis.

You need to rest from the activity that causes pain. Icing the area and elevating the foot can also help with that and reduce swelling. If the pain is severe, we can advise you which pain reliever or anti-inflammatory medication may work well, but some of them will interfere with healing, so try to use RICE therapy as much as possible. We may recommend special footwear or a cast to protect your foot while it is healing.

Recovery Tips

The main hindrance to full recovery from stress fractures is resuming activity too soon. We realize you may be impatient or feel you can’t afford the inconvenience of making accommodations for your injury, but the health of your foot bones requires you to follow our instructions about weight-bearing faithfully.

That doesn’t mean you need to sit around on the couch watching TV all day, but it does mean you should look for activities like bicycling or swimming that don’t expose your foot bones to repetitive trauma. You can also use this time to work on stretching and reconditioning your muscles to prevent some of the stress on your bones when you resume activity.

Recovery may also mean adjusting your diet to include more calcium-rich foods and ensure adequate intake of Vitamin D (or better yet, take advantage of some of that Colorado sunshine and synthesize your own!). Meanwhile, check out your shoes to make sure they aren’t too stiff or worn out. Once we give you the go ahead, start returning to activity gradually, letting your body tell you if you are going too fast or when you are ready to step it up a level.

Please contact Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center whenever you notice an issue with your lower limbs. Our expert podiatrists love working with you to heal and recondition your feet and legs so you can enjoy your favorite sports or activities again. Call us at (303) 423-2520 or contact us online to schedule an appointment at our Wheat Ridge or Golden, CO, offices, or at our locations in Evergreen and Granby.

Photo credit: zirconicusso via freedigitalphotos.net