A stress fracture is the most prevalent injury caused by overuse in sports and fitness. Though this ailment is common among athletes, it may affect anyone engaging in repeated or severe impact activities. Overuse injuries account for about half of all sports injuries.
Stress fractures in your foot are often caused by repetitive tension on an injured bone. As a result of the increased strain, the bone develops a microscopic hairline break known as a stress fracture.
The split may develop deeper over time if you do not seek treatment or adjust your lifestyle to help the bone to mend. Early detection and treatment are the most effective approaches to prevent a stress fracture from becoming a shattered bone. Scroll down to learn about foot stress fracture symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments.
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What are the causes of Foot Stress fracture?
A stress fracture in your foot usually occurs when you are physically active or the time on your feet is rapidly increased.
Typically, your bones will gradually adjust to modifications in stress or exercise. This is known as remodeling.
Some bone tissue has been destroyed and replaced during remodeling to meet the additional activity. For example, the body changes when you start a new fitness routine. According to research, foot stress fracture usually seen in the atheletes, however who reported less extrimity pain has lower risk of foot stress fracture.
When change occurs too quickly, bone tissues might be damaged quicker than your body can repair. This might make your bones extremely fragile. Stress fractures are more likely when the bones are frail.
Other factors that can raise your risk of a stress fracture include:
- Having osteoporosis or other bone-weakening disorders.
- Having experienced a prior stress fracture.
- Playing high-impact sports like tennis or basketball.
- Participating in sports such as gymnastics or dance.
- Having arches that are high or stiff.
- Having flat feet.
- Wearing ill-fitting, unsupportive, or worn-out shoes regularly.
- Changing from a sedentary to an active lifestyle abruptly or making any significant Changes in activity level.
- Having an erratic menstrual cycle.
- Having an eating disorder.
- Consuming a diet deficient in vitamin D and calcium.
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What are the Symptoms of Foot Stress Fracture?
Stress fractures frequently damage the carrying weight bones in the foot, which operate to handle the constant stress that happens when you run, jump, or stroll.
The second category and third metatarsal bone structure, the long, thin bones in your toes and ankle, are common sites for pain. Because the earliest symptoms indicate a stress fracture can be mild to moderate, it’s tempting to dismiss them as an annoyance.
The more frequently you engage in the destructive activity without giving the bone time to heal, the more frequently the stress fracture may progress and cause symptoms such as those listed below:
- Persistent foot pain, especially during activity, swelling, and tenderness, are common foot stress fracture symptoms.
- Aching, pain, and stiffness worsen after or during intense exercise or movement.
- Pain relief during moments of rest.
- Swelling around the ankle or on the top part of your foot.
- Swollen and bruised at the stress fracture site.
If you have these symptoms, you should seek medical attention right away to decide effective therapy and prevent the risk of future damage to the damaged bone.
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How is Foot Stress Fracture Diagnosed?
To assess you for the potential factors listed above, your doctor will initially inquire about your discomfort and level of exercise.
They will then evaluate you and order X-rays of the painful location. It is not uncommon for X-rays to seem regular and indicate no fractures in the bone if a stress fracture is present. This is because the bone frequently reacts by growing new bone to mend the crack.
However, the wounded bone is still susceptible to refracture. The final step in forming a new bone is for it to undergo calcification.
Sometimes, your doctor may request a bone scan or an MRI to provide additional information than a typical X-ray. These more expensive procedures, however, are not always required to detect a stress fracture.
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How is Foot Stress Fracture Treated?
The seriousness of the stress fracture determines the course of the treatment plan.
Several stress fractures can be treated with rest and medications that relieve pain. More severe stress fractures may necessitate surgery. Your doctor can decide which solutions are best for you.
The following are the prevalent treatments for stress fractures in the foot:
Generally, a doctor would advise patients to avoid bearing weight on their feet for six to eight weeks until their stress fracture recovers. Your doctor may provide a list of secure activities during this time. There are some protocol to follow in RICE.
Applying ice to your foot might help minimize swelling and pain.
Elevating the foot at nighttime or when sitting may assist to reduce swelling and remove extra fluid.
4. Medication for pain
Your doctor may advise you to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain. If your pain is severe enough, your doctor may prescribe stronger NSAIDs to you.
While some stress fractures in the foot necessitate a cast, some do. While the bone heals, a cast will keep the foot stable.
6. Footwear for protection
When you must stand or walk, footwear with protection might help to prevent stress on your feet.
The majority of stress fractures recover with no surgery. However, surgery is occasionally required to stabilize the bone and guarantee good recovery. This typically requires inserting surgical screws and plates into the bones in the foot to hold it together.
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What is the Prevention to be taken for Foot Stress Fracture?
Here are some pointers to help you avoid stress fractures:
Gradually increase your workload
Set progressive goals while beginning any new sports activity. For example, begin to run 5 kilometers every day right away. Instead, gradually increase your weekly miles.
This is done by alternating exercises that achieve similar fitness goals. It can aid in the Prevention of ailments such as stress fractures. Rather than running daily to fulfill cardiovascular goals, alternate between running on even days and biking on odd days. Flexibility and durability exercises should be added to the mix for maximum effect.
Maintain a nutritious diet
Make sure to include calcium and vitamin D-rich items in your diet.
Use the proper equipment
Wearing old or worn-out running shoes is not recommended.
Keep an eye out for pain
If you have pain or swelling, cease immediately and rest for a couple of days. If the discomfort persists, consult an orthopedic surgeon.
Treat symptoms as soon as they appear
It’s crucial to remember that if you catch the signs and symptoms ahead of time and treat them properly, you’ll be able to perform sports at your typical level again.
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Overuse causes a stress fracture, a tiny crack in the bone. A foot stress fracture is frequently observed among some athletes and others who begin exercising too soon after being idle for an extended period.
Many people fail to notice a stress fracture because the bone breach is so small. It may take a few days to experience the ache.
It is critical to seek medical attention for a foot stress fracture. Neglecting the injury might aggravate it and lead to an entire fracture of the broken bone.
Rest, ice, and pain medication are frequently used in treatment. Surgery is rarely required. However, it may be required for serious foot fractures.