Imagine the pressures placed on your feet when you run or even walk. Each of the 26 bones in your foot must bear your body weight and so are subject to stress fractures. When muscles are fatigued or become overloaded, they transfer the stress to adjacent bones. When this happens over and over, the bones weaken and become susceptible to fractures.
Stress fractures are tiny breaks in the bone caused by repetitive force and overuse, but can also appear in a normal bone that has been weakened by osteoporosis. Fractures most often occur in the middle-top of the foot, in the second and third toes and in the heel.
Risk Factors for Stress Fractures
Runners are prone to stress fractures because of the huge stress placed on the feet with each stride. Other athletes, especially those playing tennis, basketball and gymnastics are also susceptible to fractures.
Individuals with osteoporosis have a greater risk of stress fractures because their bones are more fragile with reduced density. A lack of calcium and vitamin D can also make your bones more likely to fracture.
If you begin a new exercise program too aggressively, you may experience a stress fracture. Individuals with flat feet or more rigid arches are prone to fractures as are newly-recruited members of the military carrying heavy packs.
How We Treat Stress Fractures of the Foot
If you have foot pain that increases gradually with activity, you may have a stress fracture. Your pain may be eased by resting and taking weight off the foot. The tender area may exhibit bruising, swelling or tenderness.
Even though resting may appear to benefit your foot, the injury may not heal correctly if you don’t seek professional help. A fracture that doesn’t heal properly can affect the mechanics of your foot permanently.
To heal your fracture, you must keep weight off your foot. Using crutches with a walking boot that immobilizes the foot will allow the injury to heal. For certain cases, we’ll discuss surgical options with you to promote faster healing.
Don’t Ignore Persistent Foot Pain
Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist has extensive experience with foot and ankle pain including stress fractures and other injuries. Many treatments and surgeries can be addressed right here in our office. Please call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. Don’t let a foot problem get worse – call us today!