Sometimes people experiencing pain in their feet are surprised to see that an x-ray reveals no visible crack or fracture in the bone. This could indicate that they have a stress fracture, or a tiny hairline fracture on the surface of the bone (usually the weight bearing bones of the lower leg and foot). Athletes such as basketball players, soccer players, and runners are particularly prone to this kind of injury.
Stress fractures are caused by repetitive application of force, so people regularly involved in exercises that include jumping up and down or running long distances on hard surfaces are often victims. Also, people with osteoporosis (which weakens the bones) can develop stress fractures from normal everyday use of a bone.
In the beginning a stress fracture may be unnoticeable, but the discomfort, which is decreased during rest, usually worsens over time. Many runners report feeling discomfort due to a stress fracture at the same specific point in their run every time. Pain is for the most part concentrated to one specific point, which can become visibly swollen. If the underlying cause of a stress fracture is not addressed, it may not heal properly and will cause chronic pain and/or more stress fractures.
The main method of treatment for a stress fracture is reducing the weight bearing load on your feet until the bone heals. Wearing a walking boot/brace and possibly even using crutches can achieve this purpose. Resting from activity as well as icing the area to reduce swelling can ensure that your stress fracture heals properly.
If you believe you have a stress fracture and the pain persists or becomes severe even during rest, it is time to call Quality Foot Care at 215-230-9707. Dr. Lefkowitz and his staff have the expertise and care to provide effective treatment for stress fractures and all other foot and ankle concerns at their Doylestown office.