How Are Stress Fractures Prevented
Since stress fractures are usually caused by too much pressure on the metatarsal bone, we want to reduce pressure on that bone to prevent the stress fracture from occurring again. We can do this best with the use of custom orthotics that are prescribed specifically to reduce pressure on the injured portion of the foot. We prescribe the orthotics in a manner that acts to transfer the force off of the at-risk metatarsal and redistribute that force to other parts of the foot. Wearing the proper shoes is also critical and we will help you in finding the correct shoes for your feet.
Stress Fracture Shin: Causes
Stress Fractures of the shin are caused by repetitive impact activities such as running and gymnastics.
Poor nutrition and low vitamin d levels can increase your risk of developing a stress fracture alongside bone conditions such as Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.
A sudden increase in impact activity can also cause a Shin Stress Fracture, while poor running biomechanics can also increase your risk of a stress fracture.
How Do You Know If You Have A Stress Fracture In Your Foot
The most common presentation of a stress fracture in your foot is swelling on the top of the foot. The pain usually comes with the first few steps in the morning, getting up after sitting for awhile, and again at night time. A more serious stress fracture can cause bruising on top of the foot and toes.
Read Also: Top Orthopedic Doctors In Maryland
Self Treatment For Metatarsal Stress Fractures
Stress fractures should not be self treated. Inappropriate treatment could lead to significantly worse problems. For example, a stress fracture that breaks all the way through could require surgery. If you absolutely cant see a doctor right away at least try the products below until you can. These are the products we recommend to our patients and they are also affiliate links so we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if your order from the link.
What To Do When You Develop A Stress Fracture In Foot
Do not continue with your activity despite feeling pain in your foot. The fact that you can move your foot does not mean you do not have a fracture or anything serious.
1. See a Doctor
Be sure to see your doctor as soon as you can to know how severe the fracture is. Ignoring the pain and continuing with your routine may break your bone completely.
Your doctor will conduct a physical exam and may even ask for specific imaging tests such as x-rays and MRIs to diagnose a fracture. Once they confirm you have a stress fracture in foot, they will suggest the following treatment options.
You should take plenty of rest, apply ice to your affected food, compress it, and keep it elevated.
- Avoid putting weight on your foot for some time and wear a thick-soled cork sandal instead of a thin slipper.
- Apply cold packs for 15-20 minutes several times a day and then wrap the area lightly in a soft bandage.
- Moreover, keeping your foot higher than your heart level will help reduce swelling and pain. Your doctor may give you pain relievers like ibuprofen if you have severe pain.
3. Physical Therapy
Your doctor may recommend the use of crutches for some time. This ensures you do not put excessive weight on your affected foot and give it time to heal. They may also try some other options. For instance:
4. Surgical Treatment
Also Check: Purvis Moyer Foot And Ankle Center
Surgical Treatment For Foot Stress Fractures
If the bone is completely broken, or if the fracture is complex, then you may need surgical treatment. However, foot stress fractures are a crack in the bone, so these injuries dont typically warrant surgical treatment.
Follow the aforementioned conservative methods, such as pain medication and orthotics, as well as follow-up X-rays and MRIs for the best course of treatment.
How Do We Treat Metatarsal Stress Fractures
Immobilisation in an air cast boot or a cast is often the most appropriate treatment for a metatarsal stress fracture. Most stress fractures will heal after 2-3 weeks immobilisation, carefully returning to activity. During this time you should refrain from activities that put stress on your foot and leg. Surgery may be required in order for the stress fracture to heal properly.
Also Check: Swollen Feet And Ankles During Pregnancy
How Can I Prevent Stress Fractures
There are precautions you can take to reduce your risk of stress fractures:
- Start slowly when beginning an exercise program. You should walk and stretch to warm up before progressing to running.
- Make sure your shoes fit properly and have adequate cushioning.
- Make sure you take the time to cool down properly after exercise.
- If you notice discomfort, avoid higher-impact exercise and activity.
Contributors/Reviewers: Patrick Maloney, MD Jason Tartaglione, MD
The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society offers information on this site as an educational service. The content of FootCareMD, including text, images, and graphics, is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses or treatments. If you need medical advice, use the “Find a Surgeon” search to locate a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon in your area.
Treatment Of Stress Fractures Of The Foot And Ankle
Stress fractures of the foot and ankle are common in competitive athletes and can cause a considerable delay in return to play. Generally, management of stress fractures includes rest and immobilization. When they occur in female athletes, treatment will begin with an analysis of metabolic bone health, which will involve blood and urine testing, and a bone scan for bone density. If hormonal issues or eating disorders are discovered, a multidisciplinary treatment plan may be necessary.
Don’t Miss: How To Make An Ankle Bracelet
What Causes A Stress Fracture
Risk factors for stress fractures can be divided into two basic categories: extrinsic and intrinsic.
Extrinsic factors happen outside of the body. These can also be called environmental factors. These factors can include:
- Practicing incorrect training or sport technique.
- Having too rapid of a training program or volume of activity or changing your activity level without a gradual break-in period.
- Changing the surface you exercise on, such as going from a soft surface to outside on gravel or concrete.
- Running on a track or road with sloped surface.
- Using poor equipment or improper footwear .
- Doing repetitive activity in certain high-impact sports, such as:
- Long-distance running .
Intrinsic factors are things that are related to the athlete or patient and arent impacted by outside forces. These factors can include:
What Puts You At Risk For Stress Fractures
Stress fractures are much more likely to develop in people who have just started a new exercise or abruptly stepped up the intensity of their workout. When the muscles aren’t conditioned, they tire easily and can’t support and cushion the bones as well. More pressure goes directly on the bones, which can lead to a fracture.
Stress fractures seem to be more common in women. Other risk factors for stress fractures include:
Any anatomical abnormalities — like fallen arches — can distribute stress unequally through the feet and legs. This raises the risk of stress fractures. So can poor-quality equipment, like worn-out running shoes.
You May Like: Treating Blood Blister On Foot
Where Do Stress Fractures Happen
Stress fractures can occur anywhere there is overuse, but theyre most commonly found in the lower extremity as a result of impact and weight bearing activities. The most common bone is the shin bone or tibia . Stress fractures can also occur in the foot. The foot is made up of several small bones. The bones running to the toes are called metatarsals. There are five metatarsals in each foot. It is most common for a stress fracture to happen in the second and third metatarsals. Stress fractures can also be seen in the heel , hip and even the lower back.
Treatment Of Foot Stress Fractures
Treatment includes reduction of weight-bearing on the involved foot. For a while, the person uses crutches and a wooden shoe or other commercially available supportive shoe or boot. Casts are sometimes needed. Healing can take up to 12 weeks. As with other injuries, people can maintain aerobic fitness by doing non-weightâbearing exercises until recovery is complete.
Don’t Miss: Plano Orthopedic And Sports Medicine
Deterrence And Patient Education
Prevention is the best strategy for stress fractures. Address both intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors. Extrinsic factors are the easiest to address. Optimization of calcium and vitamin D status, proper shoe wear, a gradual increase in training volumes, choosing appropriate running surfaces, and smoking cessation. The intrinsic risk factors are more difficult to modify, but a proper understanding of how they can be additive to the extrinsic risk factors will be important in the overall prevention picture for an athlete. Some of the risk factors like poor physical conditioning, hormonal and menstrual disorder, decreased bone mineral density, and lower body muscle mass can be modified. Other like female sex, genu valgum, and maybe leg length discrepancy cannot be modified but should be taken into account when discussing training volumes.
Is A Stress Fracture Considered Broken
A stress fracture is a small bone break in ones body. If left untreated, it can become more serious. Although a broken bone is similar to a crack, it differs from a normal broken bone in that it is more like a complete split from one injury.
Stress Fracture: When To See A Docto
If you suffer from significant pain, swelling, or deformity in your limb, see your doctor for a diagnosis and evaluation. If the doctors prescription is confirmed, you should follow his or her instructions for healing and prevention of further complications.
You May Like: Blue Ridge Orthopedics Anderson Sc
Jones And Avulsion Fractures Of The Foot
The outer foot where the fifth metatarsal is located is another area that is more prone to injury that may warrant use of a foot fracture boot. Specifically, an avulsion fracture of the foot, where a tendon or ligament pulls a small piece of the bone off, is common in this region. This might occur over time due to repetitive pulling or via a single, high-impact event. A chip fracture of the foot is also relatively common in the ankle.
Like many foot hairline fractures, these usually heal well without surgery. How to heal a fractured foot of this nature usually begins with rest, ice and use of a soft bandage and/or a medical boot for a broken foot. Gentle exercises can also improve muscle strength and promote healing.
If one is dealing with a displaced avulsion fracture of the foot, more extensive treatment measures may be needed.
The aforementioned Jones foot fracture is a tougher break to treat as there is limited blood flow to the region. On the other hand, it is also a less common injury than an avulsion fracture. Both stress fractures and full breaks are possible in this small area of the fifth metatarsal.
This type of stress fracture to the outside of the foot typically requires immobilization via a cast, a boot, or a stiff-soled shoe and possibly a period spent on crutches. Bone stimulation may also be needed for Jones foot fracture treatment due to the limited blood flow to the region.
How Can You Prevent Stress Fractures
Stress fractures often happen in people who have dramatically raised their level of physical activity. So to prevent them, go slowly. Experts recommend that you never increase your exercise intensity by more than 10% per week. Make sure to warm up and stretch for a few minutes before exercising. Take frequent breaks to give your body a rest. And if you feel pain during exercise, stop. Don’t push through it. High-impact sports and work activities increase the risk for stress fractures.
Also, good exercise equipment can help prevent stress fractures. Don’t wear worn-out running shoes. People who have fallen arches or other anatomical problems may benefit from custom inserts or arch supports in their shoes.
Don’t Miss: Women’s Leather Ankle Booties
Stress Fracture Shin: Diagnosis
A clinician such as a Physical Therapist or a Podiatrist can create a clinical diagnosis for a shin stress fracture based on a patients symptoms, a positive tap test and a hop test.
The clinician may refer a patient for imaging to confirm the diagnosis, and an x-ray can identify a stress fracture, especially if it demonstrates signs of healing. At the same time, an MRI may be requested if a normal x-ray returns, as a stress fracture can be challenging to identify on an x-ray as it is small.
Our Approach To Stress Fracture
Stress fractures generally heal on their own with simple measures, such as avoiding activities that put stress on the area. In some cases, however, surgery is needed to help the fracture heal properly.
Many stress fractures occur in the foot or lower leg. Our team includes highly trained orthopedic surgeons who specialize in that area, as well as podiatrists, physical therapists and pedorthists . Our goals are to relieve pain and restore mobility, so patients can return to their normal lives and the activities they enjoy. We offer doctor’s appointments, medical imaging and physical therapy in one convenient location.
Among the top hospitals in the nation
One of the nation’s best for orthopedic care
Rated high-performing hospital for hip fracture
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.
Signs and symptoms of a stress fracture may include:
- Pain that develops gradually, increases with weight-bearing activity, and diminishes with rest
- Pain that becomes more severe during normal, daily activities
- Tenderness to touch and possible bruising
You May Like: Foot Painful To Walk On
What Is The Treatment For Stress Fractures
First aid for stress fractures
Itâs important to see your doctor, because the bone could break completely without treatment. In the meantime, follow the RICE guidelines:
- Rest. Avoid weight-bearing activities. Wear a stiff-soled, supportive shoe if necessary.
- Ice. To ease swelling, ice the area for 24 to 48 hours. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply for 20 minutes at a time. Never put ice directly on your skin.
- Compression. Wrap a soft bandage around the area to ease swelling.
- Elevation. Use pillows to raise your foot or leg higher than your heart.
Medications for stress fractures
Nonsurgical treatments for stress fractures
Most people donât need surgery to repair a stress fracture. Along with the RICE plan to reduce pain, your doctor may try one or more of these treatments while your fracture heals:
- Crutches or a cane for support
- Protective footwear like a boot or brace to lessen stress on the fracture
- Casts to keep your fracture in a fixed position while it heals
Surgery for stress fractures
Pressure Sores And Ulcers
Wearing a boot or plaster combined with not moving your limb can lead to pressure sores or ulcers. These are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue caused by prolonged pressure, rubbing or tension.
They often develop gradually, but can sometimes form in a few hours.
Signs and symptoms of a pressure sores
- skin discolouration red patches for people with pale skin, purple or blue patches for people with dark skin
- discoloured patches that do not turn white when pressed
- a patch of skin that feels warm, spongy or hard
- pain or itchiness in the affected area.
Take your boot off every day to check your skin. Make sure its not rubbing.
If you have a plaster cast, look out for a change in colour of your skin above or below the plaster, an increase in pain inside the plaster or pins and needles.
- It feels like youre going to die
- Skin is mottled or discoloured.
Find out more about the symptoms of sepsis on the NHS website.
These videos also explainwhat sepsis is and how to spot the early signs.
Living with your injury
Read Also: Orthopedic Institute In Gainesville Fl
Different Types Of Foot Fractures: Compared And Contrasted
When you hear that someone has a foot fracture, this can refer to many different bone breakages. Ankle fractures, heel bone fractures, and metatarsal fractures are just a few of the most common foot and ankle fractures. When the foot or ankle is overused, this can also result in stress fractures.
With so many different varieties of fractures of the foot, it can be hard to keep up. This article will explain each type of fracture, so you have the information you need.
Treatment For Stress Fracture In Foot
Stress fracture foot treatment centers around relieving pain and allowing ones fracture to heal. One of the major components of care involves following the steps of RICErest, ice, compress and elevate the foot. Doing so helps inflammation to subside and healing to occur.
A doctor might recommend additional steps for foot stress fracture treatment, such as modifying ones activity for the typical six to eight weeks that make up stress fracture foot healing time. Specifically, one may need to switch to athletic activities like swimming or walking that put less stress on the foot and leg.
One may also need to use crutches, a boot for a broken foot or other protective footwear to reduce stress on the injury site for a period of time. Certain injuries, such as a Jones fracture of the foots fifth metatarsal that are trickier to treat may require casting.
Some stress foot fracture types will require foot surgery to heal. This typically involves use of medical hardware to internally support and fixate ones bones in place as healing occurs. In such instances, ones fractured foot healing time is usually extended.
You May Like: Cargo Pants With Elastic Ankles