5 Important Facts About Stress Fractures

5 Important Facts About Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are tiny fractures commonly associated with repetitive use activities, and they’re actually pretty common. In fact, stress fractures account for about 10% of orthopedic injuries, and if you’re an athlete, you have a 40% chance of having a stress fracture at some point.

With five convenient Colorado locations, Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle offers patient-centered care for stress fractures, helping you get back on your feet while giving you the guidance you need to prevent stress fractures in the future. 

Here are five important facts about stress fractures that our team wants you to know.

1. Most stress fractures happen in the feet or lower legs

Stress features are caused by, well, stress. Supporting your body weight as you walk and stand, your feet and lower legs are subjected to significant stress daily. 

It’s not surprising, then, that more than half of all stress fractures happen in the feet and lower legs. Your risk is especially high if you use your legs for a lot of running or other high-impact activities or sports.

2. Pain often doesn’t get better with medication

If you have a sore foot or a sore leg, taking an over-the-counter pain reliever might be the first thing you think of. And when pain is associated with muscle strain or other overuse issues, there’s a good chance that medication will provide you some relief.

But with a stress fracture, it’s different. Because your bone is broken, taking a pain reliever isn’t going to make the pain go away. You might find some relief if the area around the injury is inflamed. But over-the-counter medicine isn’t going to provide long-term, meaningful relief.

3. Gender and other foot problems can play a role

Stress fractures tend to be more common among women, possibly because of other risk factors, like hormonal fluctuations, period irregularities, and a higher risk of osteoporosis. If you have muscle weakness in your lower legs or foot problems like bunions, corns, or calluses, these can affect the way your feet strike the ground, which in turn makes stress fractures more likely.

If you develop a stress fracture, we might recommend cross-training or other training as part of your recovery process to help correct gait problems and improve the biomechanics associated with your feet and legs.

4. You don’t have to be an athlete to have a stress fracture

Stress fractures are especially common among runners, basketball players, gymnasts, and other athletes who subject their feet and legs to repeated stress and impact. But anyone can develop a stress fracture. 

If you’re older, female, or overweight, stress fractures are more likely to happen. They’re also more common among people with osteoporosis or low levels of vitamin D and people who wear flat or unsupportive shoes.

5. Most stress fractures are treated nonsurgically

The good news about stress fractures: Most are treated without surgery. Treatment typically focuses on rest and avoiding placing weight on the affected foot or limb. Using ice, elevating your foot or leg, and wearing compression socks or bandages also help.

You may benefit from being fitted with a special “walking cast” or boot to protect your foot or ankle. You might need a cane or crutches to support your weight when you move around. It’s also very important not to push yourself to resume activities too soon. Follow your doctor’s guidance regarding activity.

Don’t ignore foot pain

A little temporary foot pain after a long day of walking or standing usually isn’t anything to worry about. But chronic or persistent foot pain, worsening pain, or foot pain that makes walking and other activities painful should never be ignored.

To find out more about stress fractures or to learn what’s causing your foot or lower leg pain, book an appointment online or over the phone today with the team at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle. We have locations in Wheat Ridge, Arvada, Granby, Evergreen, and Thornton, Colorado.

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