If you are a sportsperson, there is a good chance you have heard of stress fractures. These fractures can occur in any bone but are especially common in the foot and ankle. Here we will discuss the causes of stress fractures, symptoms to look out for, and prevention tactics that you can use to keep your feet and ankles healthy!
Causes of Stress Fractures
Overuse: Repeated impact on the same area of the bone can lead to a stress fracture. This is common in runners who do not vary their running surface or change their shoes often enough.
Weak bones: Bones not getting enough calcium or vitamin D are more likely to develop stress fractures. This is common in postmenopausal women and people with eating disorders.
Symptoms of a Stress Fracture
- Pain: The pain from a stress fracture usually worsens with activity and goes away with rest.
- Tenderness: You may be able to feel the tender spot on the bone when you press on it.
- Swelling: There could be some swelling around the injured area.
If you think you have a stress fracture, it is important to see a doctor. They can confirm the diagnosis with an X-ray or MRI and give you treatment options.
There is an adage that says prevention is better than cure. Read more about How to Prevent Foot Pain During a Workout.
Treatment for a Stress Fracture
- Rest: You will need to take a break from the activity that is causing the stress fracture. This means no running, jumping, or other high-impact activities.
- Ice: Apply ice to the injured area for 20 minutes daily.
- Compression: Use an ACE wrap or similar product to help reduce swelling.
- Elevation: Keep the injured foot elevated above heart level as much as possible.
Once the stress fracture has healed, you can slowly start adding back to activities. Be sure to warm up before exercising and listen to your body if you start to feel pain.
There are also some things you can do to prevent stress fractures in the first place:
Wear supportive shoes: It is especially important for high-impact activities.
Don’t overdo it: Pushing yourself too hard can lead to a stress fracture. Instead, be sure to increase your mileage or intensity gradually.
Rest: One or two days off from exercise each week can help your body recover and prevent injuries.
Eat a balanced diet: Getting enough calcium, and vitamin D will help keep your bones strong.
These tips can help you avoid stress fractures and keep your feet and ankles healthy! If you develop a stress fracture, see a doctor and follow their treatment recommendations. You will be back to your regular activities with proper care in no time!
Advanced Foot and Ankle Institute is a leading foot doctor in Marietta where you can get the best treatment for ankle and foot fractures. We have a team of experienced podiatrists who will work with you to create a custom treatment plan to get you back on track.