How Are Stress Fractures Treated
The most important parts of treatment for a stress fracture are:
- resting the injured area
- taking a break from sports
Kids who have pain from a stress fracture can:
- Place a cold compress or ice wrapped in a towel on the area for about 15 minutes three times a day.
- Take pain medicine as recommended by the health care provider.
Nutritional or psychological counseling can help if a stress fracture happens because of poor nutrition or an eating disorder.
What Is The Medical Treatment For Stress Fractures
Rest is the key to the initial treatment of a stress fracture. A walking boot or brace along with a cast or crutches may be needed to help rest the injured area and limit the amount of weight bearing allowed. Healing time may be 4-12 weeks, depending upon the bone involved, before gradual increases in activity may be resumed.
Physical therapy to increase muscle strength and flexibility may be considered to help prevent future injury.
Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen are useful to help with inflammation and pain. Narcoticpain medications [for example, codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone) may be considered initially to help with pain control.
Once the fracture has healed, it will be important for the patient and health care practitioner to review the circumstances that caused the injury and try to minimize the risk of future stress fractures.
Treatment Of A Stress Fracture
Rest from impact activity is the best treatment. Often, taking some time away from running or formal sport will allow the bone to heal. Cross-training with non-impact activities such as swimming or cycling will keep you fit despite rest. Icing the fracture site can reduce swelling. Finally, we generally advise against medications such as ibuprofen, as anti-inflammatories have been shown to slow bone healing.
Overall, during this time of bone healing, we suggest you see your therapist to perform rehab exercises. Exercise therapy is important to develop a stronger pelvis and lower body to cope with the demands of running.
As the pain improves, we suggest gradual re-introduction of fitness activities such as gym and walking. Rather than starting running, we suggest a slower progression using a walk/run program.
In some cases, we recommend further investigations to check on your hormonal and bone health. For example, in cases with a suspected weakening of bones, we recommend hormonal blood tests and a bone density X-ray . Generally, it is important that hormonal or vitamin deficiencies are treated prior to returning to full activity. Vitamin D deficiency is common in UK and requires high dose supplementation over many weeks.
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Dont Stress Get Checked
If youre stressing about a possible stress fracture, dont wait. Quick diagnosis and proper healing will get you back on your feet again faster, with less pain.
Our podiatrists understand that fractures and breaks often take priority over other foot problems, and we always try to make same day appointments for those suspecting a stress fracture.
Give us a call at 239.936.5400 to get your diagnosis and the healing hands you need, today.
Diagnosing A Stress Fractured Foot What You Should Expect At The Doctors
If you think you have a stress-fractured foot, you need to see a podiatrist. Your doctor will ask you questions about your activities, dietary habits, medical history and anything else that may help him or her evaluate your risk of a stress fracture.
He or she will also inquire about your symptoms and perform a physical examination. To get a better understanding of what is happening inside your foot, imaging tests may be necessary. X-rays and MRI scans can detect a stress fracture in its early stages.
MRI scans are more sensitive than x-rays, which can only detect stress fractures after the healing process has begun.
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Recognizing The Signs Of A Stress Fracture
If you love sports and play your sport frequently, youre susceptible to stress fractures in your feet and lower legs. A stress fracture, sometimes called a hairline fracture, is a tiny fissure in a bone.
Urgently Ortho in Scottsdale, Arizona, specializes in treating all types of orthopedic injuries, including stress fractures. Our team includes a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, a physician specializing in pain management, and a doctor trained in regenerative medicine.
Common Causes Of Stress Fractures
There are a few things that could lead to a stress fracture, and most are related to putting too much loading force on your bones. The first is ramping up your mileage too quickly. Bone needs time to get used to the more loading force of running, so make sure you give your bones enough time, Metzl says.
People who overpronate are more prone to stress fractures because they put a lot more medial loading force on their legs. Having osteopenia or osteoporosis can also cause stress fractures. Both genetics or not getting enough calcium in your diet can cause these two issues. Your doctor may order a bone density test to determine if you are at risk.
Whats more, a pair of studies from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia sought to identify overlooked physiological factors and lack of knowledge that contribute to stress fractures in women who run. They found that those who increased their training load more quickly and those who didnt pay much attention to nutrition and strength training were more likely to suffer a stress fracture than those who did pay attention to these factors.
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How We Care For Fractures
Every year the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center at Boston Childrens Hospital treats thousands of children, adolescents, and young adults with fractures of all complexities. Thanks to our pediatric expertise, we can precisely diagnose conditions related to the growing musculoskeletal system and optimal care plans.
At our Orthopedic Urgent Care Clinics, we care for injuries that require prompt medical attention but are not serious enough to need emergency room care. We offer urgent care services in four locations: Boston, Waltham, Peabody, and Weymouth.
Foot And Ankle Circles
Move your foot and ankle in a circle as large as possible and comfortable without pain . Repeat 10 20 times in both clockwise and anticlockwise directions provided there is no increase in symptoms.
Figure 4 Foot & Ankle Circles
For 4 intermediate exercises that are a vital component of appropriate rehabilitation for a foot stress fracture Become a Member
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Treat Your Feet Use These Tips For Stress Fracture Foot Treatment
Do you suspect you have stress fractures in your feet keeping you from performing to the best of your ability? Stress fracture foot symptoms include pain in the area while active. If you are an athlete, ignoring the pain will only perpetuate the problem. Check in with one of our Podiatrists at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute in Princeton to determine the source of your discomfort and find out if you do need stress fracture foot treatment.
Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone of an overused part of the body. They commonly appear in athletes, particularly track runners, gymnasts, and tennis and basketball players. Their feet and lower legs are specifically vulnerable to stress fractures, as they are subjected to a great deal of pressure during these activities. Learning about stress fractures while suspecting you have them may be daunting, but you can rest assured knowing most treatment options are simple and of low intensity. Below are three stress fracture foot treatment options you can discuss with your doctor.
How To Treat A Foot Fracture
This article was co-authored by Neal Blitz, DPM, FACFAS. Dr. Neal Blitz is a Podiatrist and Foot & Ankle Surgeon who runs private practices in New York City and in Beverly Hills, California. Dr. Blitz is The Bunion King® and is the creator of the Bunionplasty® Procedure which has revolutionized bunion surgery. He has over 17 years of podiatric experience and specializes in minimally invasive foot and ankle surgery. Dr. Blitz received his DPM from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine, then completed a residency focused on Elective & Reconstructive Foot & Ankle Surgery at the Swedish Medical Center, and was awarded an AO Trauma fellowship in Dresden, Germany, focused on trauma and reconstructive techniques. He is board certified in Foot Surgery and Reconstructive Rearfoot & Ankle Surgery and is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Foot & Ankle Surgery and a fellow of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons .wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 82% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 197,803 times.
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Foot Stress Fracture Healing Time
Once the fracture is confirmed, treatments vary depending on the location of the injury and its severity.
Most foot fractures heal by ceasing or dramatically reducing activity for any time between two to eight weeks.
Youll likely be placed in a cast, walking boot or a stiff-soled shoe to reduce impact as the bone repairs itself. If you dont allow your bone break to properly heal, it can develop into cracks in the bone, and in some cases, may require surgery to correct.
Do I Need To Treat A Stress Fracture
Yes, you need to treat a stress fracture. If you think you have a stress fracture, the first thing to do is rest. Stop any activities which may be contributing to the injury. Schedule an appointment and see your doctor. Its important to follow the treatment guidelines he or she gives you to prevent further injury.
If a stress fracture is not treated, the fracture may get worse. It can heal improperly, lead to arthritis or may even need surgery. Definitely do not ignore the pain. Ignoring the pain can lead to serious problems in the future, so it is important to see your doctor when you start feeling the pain.
If you have an underlying medical condition like diabetes or neuropathy, it is very important to see your doctor if you are experiencing any pain with your legs, ankles or feet.
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Riskfactors For A Stress Fracture:
In most cases, its not one specific risk factor that leads to the stress fracture, but a combination of risks and events that lead to the injury. Diagnosis is usually through X-ray. However, an acute injury may not initially show, so a second X-ray may be needed after a week or so to confirm the diagnosis. A bone scan can also be useful to determine if there is an injury to the bone.
In the case of a poorly healing bone, the use of a bone stimulating electrical device may be recommended by your physician.
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.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Stress Fracture In The Foot And Ankle
The key symptom of a stress fracture is pain. Depending on the bone affected, it tends to hurt in very specific, pinpoint areas, and it will hurt when you touch the exact area where the bone is broken.
If you have recently changed or increased your activity and have pain in a specific area of the foot or ankle, you may have a stress fracture. The pain usually becomes more intense when you do impact activities and gets better during periods of rest.
If you think you may have a stress fracture in your foot or ankle, the most important thing to do is to immediately stop all activities that cause pain. If an untreated stress fracture worsens , you will start feeling the pain more quickly during activity that puts stress on the affected bones than when the stress fracture first appeared.
If your pain continues after several days of rest or if your pain goes away but then returns even after several weeks of rest, you should see an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon .
What Are The Symptoms Of A Stress Fracture
The symptoms of a stress fracture can include:
- Pain, swelling or aching at the site of fracture.
- Tenderness or pinpoint pain when touched on the bone.
- Pain that begins after starting an activity and then resolves with rest.
- Pain thats present throughout the activity and does not go away after the activity has ended.
- Pain which occurs while at rest, during normal activity or with everyday walking.
- Pain which is worse with hopping on one leg or an inability to shift weight/hop on affected leg/foot.
If a stress fracture is not treated at an early stage , the pain can become severe. There is also a risk that the fracture may become displaced . Certain stress fractures are considered high risk stress fractures because they may have a poor outcome if not identified early.
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What Can Kids Do While Healing From A Stress Fracture
Ask the health care provider if your child can exercise a part of the body that does not have the stress fracture. For example, if your daughter has a stress fracture in her foot, she may be able to do exercises with her arms and shoulders. This can help kids stay active during healing.
After a few weeks, your health care provider may give your child the OK to slowly start to increase activity. The provider may recommend physical therapy to help your child safely return to sports.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Toe Stress Fracture
The most common early sign of a toe stress fracture is mild pain and weakness in the affected appendage. It can also be painful to press on the actual site of the fracture, though there is not radiating pain. There may not be a visible sign of the fracture, though some bruising or swelling is possible. It may be difficult to detect a toe stress fracture, as its symptoms are similar to those of other strains and sprains in that area of the body. If it is not treated, the pain will increase and persist and may even become severe.
How quickly the pain of a toe stress fracture will escalate depends on the severity of the injury and how much the patient is moving. A sedentary individual may take some time to realize that the pain is a fracture. In these instances, the most obvious symptom is that the pain will endure, perhaps lessening with rest, but never completely going away. Those who are physically active usually notice a faster and sharper increase in pain and are more likely to recognize this as a symptom that requires medical attention.
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Where Do Stress Fractures Occur In The Foot
Stress fractures mainly occur in the second and third metatarsals of the foot. These are a lot thinner and longer than the first one and it is these characteristics that make them prone to stress fractures. Most of the time, a stress fracture will occur over time, after perhaps years of doing the same activities. The stresses that cause a stress fracture arent powerful enough to result in an acute fracture but they do form small cracks and breaks in the bone.
How Is A Stress Fracture Treated
Stress fractures are treated in several ways. Your doctor will discuss your options based on the location and severity of your fracture. Also, your provider will aim to treat any risk factors you have for future injuries.
Treatments your doctor may recommend can include:
- Stopping the activity that is causing pain. Stress fractures happen because of repetitive stress and overuse, so its important to avoid the activity that led to the fracture.
- Applying an ice pack or ice massage to the injured area.
- Resting for roughly two to eight weeks.
- Cross training by doing non-impact exercise after discussion with your doctor may be allowed. Eventually, once you can perform low-impact activities for extended periods without pain, you can start doing high-impact exercises. Often, physical therapy can be very helpful in returning to activities and making adjustments to avoid reinjury.
- Adjusting your position if there is swelling in your leg, ankle or foot. You can lessen the swelling by elevating your leg raising your foot above the level of your heart while youre lying on your back.
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines to help relieve pain and swelling.
- Using protective footwear to reduce stress on your foot or leg. This may be stiff-soled shoe, a wooden-soled sandal, or a post-op shoe which has a rigid sole.
- Using crutches to keep weight off your foot or leg until the bone heals.
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