What is it?
A stress fracture is a crack in a bone caused due to prolonged stress on the bone, or sudden impact injuries. It is most common in high-impact sports such as running or football.
- Stress fractures are mostly caused in new athletes, especially in case of sudden change in ongoing motion
- In some cases, osteoporosis can cause a stress fracture in the foot when the sufferer suddenly increases his physical activities, such as running, etc.
- Pain that is intense when performing daily activities, but reduces when foot is at rest
- Swelling on the top or the outside of the foot
- Tenderness of the fracture site
- The physician may initially perform preliminary tests to identify fractures, sprains or muscle torsions
- X-ray and MRI scans may be taken
Treatment shall vary depending upon the severity and location of the fracture. Majority of stress fractures are treated non-surgically
- Avoiding activities that put stress on the foot
- Protective footwear, such as shoes with stiff sole or removable brace.
- Casting (‘’outside of the foot’ fractures)
Surgical treatment may be performed in case of severe stress fractures, or fractures of metatarsals (small bones). This may involve
- Supporting the bones by fasteners
- Fixing of bones by screws/ pins/ plates to keep the small bones in place together
Normal recovery period for stress fractures is 6-8 weeks, but more severe fractures can take longer for total recovery. One can return to normal activity after plenty of rest during the recovery period.