25 Jun Foot and Ankle Stress Fractures
Stress fractures are tiny cracks that develop in the bones when the muscles tire and cannot absorb the repeated shocks. The fatigued muscles transfer the stress to the bones, which can create a small crack or fracture.
Usually the weight-bearing bones of the foot and lower leg, including the 2nd or 3rd of the long bones between the toes and the midfoot (metatarsals), the heel, the outer bone of the lower leg (fibula) and the navicular, a bone on the top of the midfoot are subject to stress fractures.
People who are at high risk for stress fractures are –
- Runners and other athletes who play high-impact sports
- Female athletes with less bone mass
- Adults with osteoporosis
Causes of stress fractures
Stress fractures are generally cause because of –
- Sudden increase in the frequency and intensity of workout or sports training
- Improper sports equipment
- Inadequate warming up or stretching
- Poorly designed shoes
- Uneven surface
- Altered foot shape, for example, flat foot
Signs and symptoms of stress fractures
Signs of a stress fracture are –
- Pain that increases gradually with weight-bearing activity
- Swelling on the top of the foot or the outside ankle
- Tenderness to touch in the affected area
Treatment for stress fractures
The treatment for stress fractures will depend on its location. Most stress fractures heal with rest and activity modification. You may be advised to wear protective footwear for a few weeks. Your podiatrist may place a cast or boot your foot and ask you not to put weight on the affected foot till it heals. In severe cases, foot surgery may be performed to ensure proper healing.
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