Stress fractures commonly develop in the weight-bearing bones especially those located in the lower foot. This type of injury can be seen in track and field athletes or just about anyone who participates in activities that place too much stress on the foot.
What causes foot stress fractures?
Stress fractures can be the result of repetitive abuse of the foot during jumps or long distance running. It can also be the result of weakened bones due to an underlying disease.
Types of foot stress fractures
There are two types of stress fractures, fatigue and insufficiency fractures. Fatigue fractures are the result of repeated stress on the foot that results to an injury beyond the bone’s natural healing ability. An insufficiency fracture on the other hand is caused by a weakened bone structure like those seen in people suffering from osteoporosis.
Stress fractures remain unnoticed until pain becomes unbearable. This is why early diagnosis is essential to prevent the condition from progressing. A podiatrist is a foot specialist that is highly qualified to identify and treat foot stress fractures. Dr. Paul Klein is a podiatrist who specializes in helping people suffering from foot stress fractures.
Symptoms of a foot stress fracture
- Foot pain that often manifests itself during physical activities and decrease with rest
- Pain that intensifies over time
- Swelling and tenderness
Diagnosis of foot stress fractures
Pain is a signal that indicates injury or something abnormal. Foot pain during physical activities can be an indication of foot stress fractures. Consulting with a podiatrist gives you the best chance for early diagnosis and drastically improves prognosis.
Diagnosis starts with a thorough check of your medical history and previous activities. The podiatrist inspects your foot for swelling and tenderness.
A thorough diagnosis involves obtaining a detailed history of your condition and performing an examination of the injury and surrounding area. Stress fractures are not easily identified on X-ray until about 3 weeks after the onset of symptoms. More detailed tests such as MRIs, CT scan or bone scans are performed if a podiatrist suspect a stress fracture even after testing negative on X-ray.
Treatment for foot stress fractures
- Rest – reducing pressure on the feet prevents further injury and buys time for it to heal properly
- Ice – this reduces swelling and helps relieve pain
- Pain medications – stick to acetaminophen based pain relievers. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers may interfere with proper bone healing.