Stress fractures are subtle injuries that often develop over time, typically from repetitive stress. Because about 10% of all stress fractures occur in the foot or ankle, the team at Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle Center in Evergreen and Wheat Ridge, Colorado, frequently treats them. If you have foot pain, even if it goes away when you rest, call or make an appointment online with Matthew Paden, DPM, FACFAS, Dustin Kruse, DPM, MA, FACFAS, or Brett Sachs, DPM, FACFAS today.
A stress fracture is a hairline crack or bruising that develops in a bone from repetitive stress. It also develops in runners and other athletes who put a lot of stress on their feet. People who are obese or spend a lot of time on their feet like nurses and teachers are more likely to develop stress fractures.
Stress fractures are more common on the second and third metatarsals as well as your heel and ankle bones. These small bones bear much of the stress of every step you take. Over time, microscopic injuries damage the bone, and a thin crack or bruise develops.
Signs of a stress fracture include:
Stress fractures are often linked to either bone abnormalities or abnormal movement. Examples of bone abnormality that can lead to stress fractures include osteoporosis or weakening due to certain medications or vitamin D deficiency.
Abnormal movements also cause stress fractures. For example, if you too quickly add miles or intensity to your running, you increase your risk. Or if you change your style of shoe to a less supportive design, you increase the amount of pressure your foot absorbs.
If your gait is abnormal due to high arches, flat feet, or other issues that affect your foot strike, the abnormal movement can put additional stress on bones.
If your podiatrist at Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle Center diagnoses a stress fracture, you’ll begin treatment immediately. RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) therapy is an integral part of helping your bone to heal. You may also need to wear an immobilizing boot or cast to keep your foot still while you recover.
One of the biggest hindrances to stress fracture recovery is resuming normal activities too quickly. Follow your doctor’s advice about limiting stress on your foot or ankle. You may be able to cross train with swimming or biking to maintain your conditioning before you can start running or training competitively again.
If you have foot pain, call or make an appointment online today. You don’t have to put up with foot pain and can avoid even more severe injuries with prompt podiatric care.