When you think about fracturing a bone, you probably imagine a single traumatic incident, such as a car accident or a sports injury. Actually, though, the strain you put on your body throughout your day can take its toll over time, culminating in what’s called a stress fracture.
Stress fractures are most common in your feet and lower legs. So if you’re dealing with unexplained, ongoing foot pain, don’t ignore it. To find out if you’re dealing with a stress fracture, come visit Kyle Durfey, DPM, and Brian Hiapo, DPM, of Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center in Chandler or Laveen, Arizona.
If you do have a stress fracture, don’t worry. We offer dedicated fracture care to help your foot heal fully and quickly.
Understanding stress fractures
Unlike other broken bones, a stress fracture may not occur in tandem with a memorable incident. This can make these fractures much harder to identify — and easier to ignore.
As the name suggests, stress fractures occur when certain bones are subjected to repeated, excessive strain. For example, runners have a heightened risk for developing stress fractures because of the pounding motion associated with running. But you don’t have to be an athlete to get a stress fracture. Having a high arch may put you at risk for developing a stress fracture in your foot, too, because your arch may not have the support it needs.
Other risk factors for developing a stress fracture include having osteoporosis as well as suddenly changing your physical activity. If you’re starting a new kind of exercise, you should scale up slowly. This will give your bone time to remodel so it will be able to bear the increased load of your new activity. Doing too much too soon may put excess strain on your bones without giving them time to adapt, which could result in a stress fracture.
Knowing the signs of a stress fracture
People often don’t know they have a stress fracture, especially at first. Stress fractures start small, and the resulting pain can feel mild. If you stay off your feet, the pain usually abates.
Other symptoms of a stress fracture in your feet can include:
If you’re dealing with persistent foot pain, come visit either of our offices. With a medical exam and X-ray, we can diagnose your stress fracture. That way, we can start treatment.
Left unaddressed, stress fractures can worsen and even turn into a complete fracture. At that point, you may need a much longer recovery period.
Treating stress fractures
Stress fractures generally take 6-8 weeks to heal. To protect the area while you’re healing, we may provide you with a cast, brace, or boot. We might also fit you with crutches.
We’ll work with you through the process to ensure your foot fully heals. Once it does, we’ll help you scale back into your daily activities to prevent future stress fractures.
Don’t let foot pain go unaddressed. To protect your feet, book an appointment online or over the phone with Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center today.